Eric Greitens’ new ad is drawing criticism from both left and right. : NPR

In a new campaign ad, Eric Greitens carries a shotgun and stands alongside men in military gear as they break into a house.

Greitens for the US Senate

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Greitens for the US Senate

In a new campaign ad, Eric Greitens carries a shotgun and stands alongside men in military gear as they break into a house.

Greitens for the US Senate

A new campaign ad from Eric Greitens, the controversial former Missouri governor currently running for the US Senate, drew accusations of glorifying political violence before being flagged by Twitter and removed by Facebook for violating related policies. to violence and abuse.

“Today we’re going RINO hunting,” Greitens, a Republican, said with a smile as he swiped the action on his shotgun in the 38-second commercial. RINO stands for “Republican in name only”.

Greitens and a team of men equipped in military gear are then shown breaking into a house, guns raised.

“The RINO feeds on corruption and is marked with the streaks of cowardice,” Greitens said. “Get a RINO hunting license. There’s no bagging limit, no tagging limit, and it doesn’t expire until we save our country.”

The announcement was posted on social media on Monday morning. He quickly came under fire from many on the left – and some on the right – for his use of language and visuals appearing to support violence against political opponents.

On Monday afternoon, Facebook removed the video and Twitter flagged the tweet with a warning that the video violated the company’s “abusive behavior” policies. Twitter allowed the ad to remain visible, saying it “may be in the public interest” to do so. The video has been viewed over 2 million times.

“Facebook HAS CENSORED our new ad calling the RINOs weak,” Greitens wrote on Facebook. “When I come to the US Senate, we face Big Tech.”

“That’s sociopathic. You’re going to get somebody killed,” wrote Representative Joaquin Castro, a Democrat from Texas.

“You are a very bad man” wrote Rep. Adam Kinzinger, the Illinois Republican whose criticism of Donald Trump has earned him both the “RINO” label and threats of violence, including a recent death threat he shared on Twitter just yesterday.

Greitens was elected governor of Missouri in 2016, but resigned less than two years later amid allegations of sexual assault and blackmail of a woman he was having an extramarital affair with.

He admitted to the matter but denied any wrongdoing. Greitens was also accused of abusing a list of charitable donors to raise campaign funds. The criminal charges against him were eventually dropped.

He and his then-wife, Sheena, have since divorced. In a sworn statement earlier this year, she accused him of abusing her and their children.

Today, Greitens is one of 21 Republicans vying to replace incumbent Senator Roy Blunt.

Some Missouri Republicans worry that if Greitens wins the Republican primary in August, the candidate could turn off enough voters to hand the election to a Democrat.

Greitens firmly refused calls to give up. A poll conducted in June by Emerson College and The hill found that 26% of likely primary voters favored Greitens, which would be enough to lead the crowded race.

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