JOPLIN, Mo. – Republican gubernatorial nominee Eric Greitens has attacked Democrat Chris Koster for his reaction to Ferguson. While Greitens accused Koster of wanting to immediately fire Darren Wilson when he arrived at the city, an investigation by the Missouri Times found that people in both parties who worked with Koster during the unrest rebuked Greitens’ claims.
With a new ad released Friday, Greitens has accused Koster of abandoning Joplin after the 2011 tornado swept through the town and killed 158 people, caused thousands of injuries and caused $2.2 billion in property damage.
“When the disaster struck Joplin, where was career politician Chris Koster? Overseas at one of the swankiest hotels in the world,” a narrator says, recanting the familiar label Greitens has given Koster during this election.
The ad alleges that Koster then swept in days after the tornado struck on a private jet solely to take responsibility for recovery efforts.
Koster’s campaign responded quickly, calling the ad a “disgusting” politicization of one of the most destructive natural disasters to ever impact Missouri.
“Eric Greitens should apologize to the people of Joplin for trying to make one of the most devastating tornadoes in history into a political football and take down this disgusting ad,” David Turner, Greitens campaign manager said. “This makes it clear: Eric is willing to do or say anything as long as it helps Eric.”
The campaign explained in a release that Koster had been overseas as part of a 10-person bipartisan delegation to Israel to represent the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG). NAAG Executive Director Jim McPherson said the trip gave the delegation an understanding of the United States’ relation to Israel.
On the trip, Koster had a chance to meet with several Israeli political leaders, including the late Shimon Peres, as well as make a stop at the Yad Vashem, Israel’s official memorial to Holocaust victims.
“Our members approach these delegations with a heightened level of seriousness as they are meeting with top officials in Israel, such as the late Shimon Peres, learning about Israel’s approach to crime, and visiting some of the holiest places in the world,” McPherson said in a statement.
While in Israel, the Jerusalem Post even reported that Koster was “eager” to get back to Missouri to help deal with the crisis.
Koster’s campaign also pointed to Joplin Fire Chief Mitch Randles asking that “non-essential” people stay away from the disaster site in the days following the catastrophe. They also said the attorney had toured the site to warn victims of the tornado about consumer protection fraud and price gouging awareness before Congressman Billy Long or U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt had toured the site.