JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The animosity between gubernatorial candidates businessman John Brunner and former Navy SEAL Eric Greitens hit a new mark this week.
Monday on KMOX’s the Mark Reardon Show, Greitens refuted claims made by the Brunner campaign that Greitens had made an angry and threatening phone call before the now-popular recorded call published by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch came out in November.
Reardon: So, but was that Eric Greitens finest moment in that phone call? It shouldn’t have been recorded, shouldn’t have been released, I don’t think, but some people might say well Eric got a little emotional in that. I mean here’s what I said honestly, I would have dropped some F-bombs, so I give you credit for not doing that although the build-up to this was another phone call. That’s another claim. They said that you made a phone call that was threatening.
Greitens: Absolute lie. That is a lie from them, Mark, that is a straightforward lie.
Greitens’ palpable anger on the phone call came as a result of a former Brunner staffer forming an anti-Greitens political action committee, one Greitens and his campaign have implied is still coordinating with the Brunner campaign. By law, a PAC cannot coordinate with a candidate or their campaign committees.
“Here’s what we know,” Greitens told Reardon. “They’ve set up this organization with one of their employees, they refuse to take responsibility for it. They secretly tape a phone call and give it to the media. They refuse to take responsibility for it. and then John doesn’t even have the courage to come and sit here – there’s an open chair right here – and answer these questions himself.”
However, the Brunner camp requested and received an affidavit that confirms a call prior to the recorded one took place and allege Greitens did not confirm nor deny the existence of such a call. The above transcription of the Reardon interview makes it sound that Greitens is refuting the idea that such a call was threatening, not the existence of the call itself. The affidavit insinuates that it could be construed as such.
The writer of the affidavit, a person with Brunner at the time Greitens called (apparently both times) whose name was redacted, writes this:
On Saturday, November 14th, 2015, I picked up the Brunners from their hotel in downtown Kansas City.
Approximately 2-3 minutes into the drive, John Brunner received a call. I heard Eric Greitens announce himself. I also heard John Brunner refer to the caller as Eric, thus confirming to me that it was Eric Greitens. John Brunner was cordial. Eric Greitens was agitated. He wanted John to meet with him right away. John explained that he was with the campaign. Eric began yelling and calling John names. He demanded that John meet with him tomorrow (Sunday). Eric demanded that John meet him at his (Eric’s) boxing gym. Eric’s tone was ominous. John agreed to meet on Monday at 7 a.m. to accommodate Eric’s plans that included a flight later that day. After several minutes of trying to agree on a day and time, both men agreed on Monday at 7 a.m. at Starbucks in Eric’s neighborhood. They mutually ended the call.
Approximately 2-3 minutes later, John Brunner’s phone rang again and John announced the name on the caller ID was Eric Greitens. Eric was immediately threatening and harassing in the similar manner as the previous call. This behavior was highly disturbing. I signaled to John that I was pulling up the recording app. I signaled to John to put the call on speaker as this relentless attack was an extension of the first phone call. John again tried to calm Eric down and was able to determine that Eric had agreed to a meeting that had conflicted with his own schedule. Typically,normal behavior would dictate an apology in order to resolve a conflict in schedule. Instead,the behavior seemed irrational and unstable. I was shocked with Eric’s yelling and accusing John Brunner of ducking a meeting that Eric had agreed to just moments before.
After approximately 10 minutes they agreed to meet on Sunday, Nov. 22nd at 3:00 pm. at the Starbucks at Euclid and Maryland. They mutually ended the call.
Phone records provided by the Brunner camp also confirm that Brunner received two phone calls from a phone that begin “314-250.”
As a result, Mike Hafner, Brunner’s deputy campaign manager, said that Greitens claims were the true lies and asserted that Greitens’ campaign has actually been the one of underhanded political tactics.
“The affidavit shows Mr. Greitens made completely false claims to Missouri voters on Monday,” Hafner said in a statement. “The simple fact is that Mr. Greitens remains the only candidate in the race who has decided to focus his campaign on character assassinations, name-calling, and smear tactics. This is the first time the Brunner campaign has gone on the record to challenge the outrageous and untrue claims made by Mr. Greitens, and it is our hope that both campaigns can move on to discussing our records and actual issues facing Missourians.”
Austin Chambers, the campaign manager for Greitens, however saw little merit in the Brunner team’s outrage.
“Is this a joke?” he said in a statement. “Maybe John Brunner should spend a little more time thinking about solutions for Missouri, and less time obsessing over his phone calls with Eric. Eric is focused on moving Missouri forward with conservative solutions, and his momentum has establishment politicians in both parties running scared.”