WASHINGTON (AP) – Facebook on Monday removed a campaign video of Republican Missouri Senate candidate Eric Gretens showing him wielding a shotgun and claiming to be chasing RINOS Only, or In.
In the ad, Gretens, a former Missouri governor who resigned in shame in 2018, is framed by a tactical unit outside a house on a tree-lined street as he whispers, “RINO feeds on corruption and is characterized by stripes of cowardice,” using a a mockery used by former President Donald Trump and his allies to describe them as moderate or established Republicans.
The armed tactical team breaks down the front door and throws flash grenades. Gretens enters an empty living room through the smoke and says, “Come to the MAGA crew. Get a RINO hunting license. “There is no baggage limit, no labeling limit and it does not expire until we save our country.”
Facebook said the video was removed “for violating our policies banning violence and incitement.” Twitter said Greitens’s post violated his rules on abusive behavior, but said he abandoned it because it was in the “public interest” for the tweet to be visible. The company’s move prevented further sharing of the post.
The video comes at a time of renewed focus on political violence following deadly mass shootings and threats against government officials. Two weeks ago, a man holding a gun, knife and zipper was arrested near the home of Supreme Court Justice Brett Cavanaugh after threatening to kill the judge. At the same time, a gunman shot and killed a retired Wisconsin county judge before committing suicide.
On Sunday, Republican lawmaker Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, one of two Republicans serving on the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol uprising, said he recently received a letter at his home threatening to “execute me and my wife and a 5-month-old child. “
Gretens is among the Republican candidates in a highly competitive qualifying round on Aug. 2 to fill a vacancy vacated by retired Sen. Roy Blunt. The provocative new ad came as Grattens sought to improve his polling position, shake off the unbearable money-making scandal and bypass graphic allegations of domestic abuse in an affidavit filed by his ex-wife their children.
Sheena Greitens claimed that Eric Greitens abused her and one of their sons, while displaying such “unstable and coercive behavior” that measures were taken to restrict his access to firearms, court documents state.
The former governor has categorically denied the allegations, but has been pressured in the wake of the election campaign. He resigned in 2018 amid criminal investigations and after being accused of having an extramarital affair with his hairdresser and of taking a compromising photo of herself so as not to talk about it.
Helena Wade, Sheena Greitens’s lawyer, told the Kansas City Star that she would “absolutely” use the new campaign video in the couple’s lawsuit.
“This is beyond the line,” Wade told the newspaper, adding that he would file court documents to make the video an exhibit in the case.
Other candidates for the Senate also condemned the video.
Republican Sen. Dave Sachs called it “completely irresponsible.”
“It simply came to our notice then. It is time to restore logic and reject this nonsense. “Missouri deserves better,” Sachs said in a tweet.
Democrat Sen. Lucas Koons wrote on Twitter that “terrorists, child molesters and criminals” like Greitens “should not be able to take up arms.”
“Help me beat this guy in November and I will protect our families from criminals like him,” Kunce said.
Greitens’s campaign dismissed the outrage over the new ad.
“If anyone does not understand the metaphor, they are either lying or stupid,” campaign director Dylan Johnson said in a statement.
The storm of fire that surrounds Greitens follows a worn book that helped other Republican candidates take their seats: Make a provocative statement or advertisement, wait for a reaction to develop, and then report the reaction as you try to raise money from donors. internet base. In Greitens’ case, the actions taken by the social media giants could prove to be a further benefit, taking advantage of the resentment of the big tech companies that are increasingly following the Republican Party.
Once a swing state, Missouri has become more credibly Republican in recent years. However, the race for the Senate is gaining national attention because some in the GOP establishment are worried that Greitens would be vulnerable to a Democrat in November. With the Senate evenly divided, the GOP cannot afford to lose what would otherwise be a secure seat.