by Brian Slodisco | The Associated Press
WASHINGTON – Facebook on Monday removed a campaign video of Republican Missouri US Senate candidate Eric Greetens branding him a firearm that he is hunting for RINOS, or Republicans in Name Only.
In the ad, Grittens, a former Missouri governor who resigned in disgrace in 2018, is surrounded by a tactical unit outside a house on a tree-lined street, as he whispers, “Rino feeds on corruption. And is marked by stripes of cowardice. Former President Donald Trump and his allies used a period of derision to label liberals or establishment Republicans.
The armed tactical team smashes the front door and throws inside what appears to be a flash-bang grenade. Grittens enters an empty living room through smoke and says, “Join the MAGA squad. Get a RINO hunting permit. There’s no bagging limit, no tagging limit, and it doesn’t end when Till we do not save our country.
Facebook said the video was removed “for violating our policies prohibiting violence and provocation.” Twitter said Greetens’ post violated its rules about abusive behavior, but said it was leaving it because it was in the “public interest” to see the tweet. This move by the company prevented the post from being shared further.
The video comes at a time of renewed focus on violence in politics after deadly mass shootings and threats to government officials. Two weeks ago, a man carrying a gun, knife and zip tie was arrested near Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s home after he threatened to kill Justice. Around the same time, a gunman killed a retired county judge in Wisconsin before fatally shooting himself, and he had a list that included Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, and Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers. Names included.
On Sunday, Republican Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, one of two Republicans serving on the House committee investigating the January 6 Capitol uprising, said he recently received a letter at his home that included “me, as well as my wife and 5. Threatened to kill a one-month-old baby.”
Greetens is among Republican candidates in a highly competitive election to be held on Aug. 2 to fill the seat being vacated by the retirement of GOP Sen. Roy Blunt. The provocative new ad came as Greetens improved his position in the polls, slammed a lack of fundraising and carried past graphic allegations of domestic abuse in an affidavit filed by his ex-wife in March in their child custody case.
Sheena Grittens has alleged that Eric Grittens had physically abusive behavior toward her and one of her sons, while exhibiting such “volatile and coercive behavior” that steps were taken to limit her access to firearms. were raised, court documents state.
The former governor has vehemently denied the allegations, but he has put them on the campaign trail. He resigned in 2018 amid a criminal investigation and when he was accused of having an extramarital affair with his barber and taking a compromising photo of him to stop him from talking about it.
Sheena Greetens’ attorney, Helen Wade, told The Kansas City Star she would “absolutely” use the new campaign video in the couple’s court case.
“It’s over the limit,” Wade told the newspaper, indicating that she would file court papers to have the video appear in the case.
Other candidates running for Senate also condemned the video.
Republican State Sen. Dave Schatz called it “completely irresponsible.”
“That’s why I’m running. It’s time to restore conscience and dismiss this nonsense. Missouri deserves better,” Schatz said in a tweet.
Democratic Senate candidate Lucas Kuns tweeted that “terrorists, child abusers and criminals” like Greetens “shouldn’t even be able to get a weapon.”
“Help me defeat this man in November, and I’ll keep our families safe from criminals like him,” Kuns said.
Greetens’ campaign sparked outrage over the new ad.
“If someone doesn’t get the metaphor, they are either lying or are dumb,” campaign manager Dylan Johnson said in the statement.
Firestorm-covered grits follows a well-worn playbook that has helped other Republican candidates stand their ground: Make a provocative statement or ad, wait for a response to develop, then turn to grassroots donors. Cite a response trying to raise money online. In Greetens’ case, the action by the social media giant may prove to be another boon, harnessing resentment toward large technology companies that is rapidly course through the Republican Party.
Once a swing state, Missouri has become a more confident Republican in recent years. But the Senate race is still garnering national attention as some in the GOP establishment worry Grettens will be weak against Democrats in November. With the Senate divided evenly, the GOP cannot lose what would otherwise be a secure seat.