Missouri Republican Senate Majority Leader Caleb Rowden called the police on that state’s GOP U.S. Senate candidate, Eric Greitens, for posting on social media a violence-inciting political campaign ad that called for the “hunting” of RINOs – Republicans In Name Only. The police report was prompted by threats that Rowden and several other Republicans — including Gov. Mike Parsons – received from a now-suspended Twitter account. According to VICE News, the account @Greitens_Eric – apparently not officially affiliated with the campaign – tagged Rowden and others saying that “we’ve got our permit and we’re coming for you.”
After contacting the Missouri Highway Patrol, Rowded tweeted:
We have been in contact with the Missouri Highway Patrol and hope that former Gov Greitens finds the help he needs.
— Caleb Rowden (@calebrowden) June 20, 2022
The inflammatory ad features Greitens holding a long gun and telling viewers that he’s going “RINO hunting.” It also includes graphic video footage of armed men in military-style gear breaking into a home with guns drawn.
“The RINO feeds on corruption and is marked by the stripes of cowardice. Join the MAGA crew. Get a RINO-hunting permit. There’s no bagging limit, no tagging limit, and it doesn’t expire until we save our country,” Greitens says in the ad.
Greitens is no stranger to controversy. The disgraced former Governor resigned from his post in 2018 after being indicted for invasion of privacy, an indictment that stemmed from an incident three years earlier when Greitens reportedly held his hairdresser-turned-mistress against her will, restraining and assaulting her. Greitens also, according to the indictment, took photos of the woman “in a state of full or partial nudity” without her knowledge or consent.” Greitens then threatened to release the photos if she spoke out about the abuse.
Not surprisingly, Greitens insists he did nothing wrong.
There’s no love lost between Greitens and Rowden, with the State Senator calling for the then-Governor’s resignation and subsequent impeachment. Rowden tweeted:
Governor Greitens troubling conduct is an insult not only to my moral values, but also to the values of millions of Missourians.
— Caleb Rowden (@calebrowden) April 11, 2018
Greiten’s campaign stunt is just one more example of a disturbing trend in the world of MAGA politicians calling for violence against those who disagree with them or who aren’t on board with the GOP’s hard-right turn to Trumpism. It comes at a time when we have seen escalating violence coming from the far right, including the shooting at Tops Supermarket in Buffalo, the arrest of 31 members of the white nationalist group Patriot Front at a Pride day event in Idaho, and, of course, the insurrection on January 6th, 2021.
All nine members of the select committee investigating the Capitol riot have had to step up security. And Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a lifelong Republican, has received death threats against him and his family at their Illinois home.
It’s time to definitively reject any politician like Eric Greitens who glorifies — and incites — political violence.
Original reporting by Cameron Joseph at VICE News.
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