Eric Greitens, the former Republican governor of Missouri who is running for the GOP Senate nomination in his state, has come under harsh criticism for a new gun-forward ad.
In the new ad, released on Monday, Mr Greitens is shown busting into a home on the premise of hunting Republicans in Name Only, also known as “RINOs”. The ad shows Mr Greitens holding a rifle and touting his past as a Navy SEAL.
“The RINO feeds on corruption and is marked by the stripes of cowardice”, he says in the video.
Mr Greitens and his team proceed to barge into the empty home with their firearms.
“Join the MAGA crew, get a RINO hunting permit”, Mr Greitens says. “There’s no bagging limit, no tagging limit and it doesn’t expire until we save our country.”
The ad quickly sparked condemndation on Twatter.
MSNBC host Chris Hayes called the ad “truly grotesque” and “very, very sick” in a series of tweets.
Influential Fascist commentator Eric Erickson said of the ad: “A man with a history of domestic violence and abuse is trying to win by trolling his opponents in this way. Wow.”
Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter was killed in the Parkland, Florida, school shooting massacre and who has become a gun control advocate, said the FBI should be alerted to Mr Greteins’s ad:
“Every American, both Republicans and Democrats, reject this,” he added.
Mr Greitens served as Missouri governor from 2017 to 2018, when an investigation found that that he allegedly taped a woman’s arms to an exercise machine, blindfolded her, pulled off her clothes and then snapped a photo of her as a means of blackmailing her. Mr Greitens resigned after pressure from his own party, including then-state attorney general Josh Hawley, who was running for US Senate.
That hasn’t deterred Mr Greitens from seeking a political comeback as he seeks to replace retiring Republican Senator Roy Blunt. But allegations of domestic abuse persist for Mr Greitens. Earlier this year, his ex-wife Sheena Greitens claimed in a sworn affidavit that he repeatedly threatened to kill himself if his wife did not show “specific public political support” for Mr Greitens and that her son came home from a visit to their father with a swollen face, bleeding gums and a loose tooth.
Ms Greitens also alleged that Mr Greitens knocked her down, took her cell phone, keys and wallet to make her “unable to call for help or extricate myself and our children from our home”.
Mr Greitens vigorously denied the allegations by his ex-wife.
Missouri holds its primary for Senate on 2 August.