Former Governor of Missouri and GOP Senate candidate Eric Greitens released a campaign ad Monday morning that imagines Greitens and tactical gear-clad supporters bursting into a home and “hunting” political opponents.
“I’m Eric Greitens, Navy SEAL,” the gun-toting candidate says in the 38-second ad posted on Twitter. “And today, we’re going RINO hunting.”
The twisted pun refers to RINOs, an acronym that stands for “Republicans in Name Only,” who Greitens accused in his tweet of “surrendering to Joe Biden & the radical Left.”
The ad then shows Greitens, along with several people wearing camouflage, standing on the porch of a suburban home wielding guns.
“The RINO feeds on corruption and is marked by the stripes of cowardice,” Greitens says, before the group forces the door open and bursts into the home’s living room, guns drawn.
The ad concludes with Greitens encouraging viewers to “join the MAGA crew” and “get a RINO hunting permit,” which “doesn’t expire until we save our country.”
Hours after the ad went up, Twitter added a label stating that it “violated the Twitter Rules about abusive behavior,” but that the platform “determined it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.” Meanwhile, Meta opted to remove the ad from Facebook, a spokesperson told CNN.
Numerous people criticized the ad’s disturbing implication and threatening imagery.
Greitens has been accused of real-life violence in recent years. In 2018, a Missouri hairdresser testified that during an affair with the then-Governor, he tied her up, took off her clothes without her consent and forced her to have oral sex. He resigned as governor amid the sexual assault allegations, along with accusations that he violated campaign finance law.
And Greitens’ ex-wife, Sheena Greitens, has said he physically abused both her and their children.
“Prior to our divorce, during an argument in late April 2018, Eric knocked me down and confiscated my cell phone, wallet and keys so that I was unable to call for help or extricate myself and our children from our home,” she wrote in a court filing earlier this year. She also said he hit their 3-year-old across the face and dragged him around by his hair.
Greitens has denied the allegations of abuse.