A new campaign ad featuring Missouri GOP Senate candidate Eric Grittens as a “rhino victim” is gaining backlash on social media, with critics accusing him of promoting political violence.
In the video, Grittens, a former Missouri governor and Navy SEAL, is seen holding a gun while warning about RINO. The term, which refers to “Republican in name only”, is often used against more moderate members of the party. Grittens has described them as “far from corruption” and “marked by stripes of cowardice”. The candidates, accompanied by men wearing tactical military gear, break into a house where they shoot their weapons. He then invites his supporters to “obtain a Rino hunting permit”.
“There’s no bagging limit, no tagging limit, and it doesn’t end until we save our country,” Greetens says. His campaign tweeted the video on Monday, with a link allowing campaign donors to receive a sticker that says “Rino Hunting Permit.”
In response, many critics immediately shut down the video for promoting political violence. Since the January 6, 2021 US Capitol attack, federal lawmakers have received threats, and earlier this month a man allegedly plotted to kill Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Some critics also noted that the video was inappropriate because of the domestic assault allegations leveled against Greetens. His ex-wife Sheena Grittens has accused him of physically abusing him and their children. He has also alleged that he bought a gun, did not tell him where he kept it and threatened to kill himself “unless I provided specific public political support.”
Grittens has said the allegations against him are false and “politically motivated”.
Justin Keanu, founder of progressive news website Tennessee Haller, was one of the critics who denounced the ad on Monday.
He wrote: “Really embarrassing stuff here, on every level. Modeling and encouraging violence against people you disagree with. It kills s*** people.”
Niles Francis tweeted, “Eric Greetens’ ad has an alarmingly good chance of hurting or spoiling someone. If we’ve learned anything over the past 6 years it’s that viewers of those ads take those messages to heart. take from.”
Shannon Watts, founder of gun safety organization Moms Demand Action, wrote, “After Eric Grittens, former Missouri governor, is accused of violent sexual misconduct, his ex-wife says he bought a gun and hid it. He tried to shoot himself. Even threatened, unless she supports him. Publicly. Now he is threatening to kill his political opponents.”
On Sunday, a day before Greetens released the ad, Representative Adam Kizinger, an Illinois Republican who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump and has since been called RINO, posted a threatening letter to Twitter. did. targeting his family As well as myself.
Kizinger, one of two Republicans on the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 Capitol riots, responded to the video by calling Grittens a “very bad guy.”
newsweek Greetens reached out to the campaign for comment.