Jefferson City, Mo. — Former Gov. Eric Greitens sent shockwaves through the national political landscape Monday by releasing a political ad centered around “RINO hunting.” Greitens is running for U.S. Senate in the 2022 election cycle.
RINO, standing for “Republican in name only,” has become a popular moniker among far-right Republicans to target moderates in their own party. Greitens has used the language an increasing amount to ensure a far-right voter base since his 2018 resignation from the Governor position amidst a sexual assault scandal.
Greitens’ ad showcases him toting a shotgun, calling on his supporters to get a “RINO hunting permit.” The U.S. Senate candidate then goes on to breakdown the door of a house labeled as the “RINO’s den” with the assistance of a SWAT team, throwing an explosive device and storming the building after breaking the door down.
The ad and its militant focus have grabbed the attention of politicians and media across the nation.
The Missouri Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), one of the Show-Me states most powerful political entities, released a press release denouncing Greitens’ ad Monday afternoon. The FOP has endorsed Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt in the Senate race to replace U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, who is retiring.
“We were just shocked and taken aback by by that ad,” Jay Schroeder, president of the Missouri FOP said on a phone call Tuesday.
“You know, in this time where we’ve had all this mass violence and Missouri has seen skyrocketing crime and violence in its major metropolitan cities. I think this ad — it almost shows that it’s encouraging violence. And when we’ve had, you know, mass shootings and all these things, I think that’s the last thing you need to do as a politician.”
The FOP’s press releases condemned the violent nature of the ad, going on to bring up questions of Greitens’ ability to make sound judgements as a Senator.
“The creation and release of this video again demonstrates that Mr. Greitens does not possess the sound judgement necessary to represent the people of Missouri in the United States Senate, and that he has learned nothing from the legal problems that he experienced prior to resigning as Missouri‘s Governor,” the press release said.
Even with the myriad of negative responses, pundits have held the opinion that the ad will do exactly what Greitens wants — rile up the voter-base that has supported him through his scandal and resignation.
“Greitens knows his audience and knows what he’s running for,” Austin Petersen, a conservative radio host at KWOS Jefferson City said. “He’s running in a Republican primary in Missouri, and just like the last gun ad he did that propelled him to victory, this one seems to be having the same effect.”
Petersen interviewed Greitens about the ad Tuesday morning and has since posted a picture on his twitter feed of his own “RINO hunting permit.”
The FOP hopes that Greitens’ strategy won’t work and will instead move voters away from him.
“I think this is probably strategy on his part to to rile up that base,” Schroeder said. “I just hope that moving forward, that the voters in Missouri will will see who he is, and what he does. You know, the shock and awe doesn’t work.”
The FOP has taken a middle-of-the-road approach, and Schroeder says going forward they will continue to push back against any violence-inciting actions.
“We’d like to work with everyone on both sides of the aisle, and we’re not going to stand for this type of behavior from any of our politicians,” Schroeder said. “We have policemen out riding in the streets —and it (inciting violence) gets people hurt, it gets policemen hurt — And that’s not the message that the FOP wants to stand behind.”
Greitens’ ad can be viewed here, viewer discretion is advised.
The full press release from the Missouri FOP can be viewed here.
Featured Image: Former Gov. Eric Greiten’s mugshot after being arrested for a felony invasion of privacy charge in 2018. (St. Louis Metro Police Department)
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