Missouri newspaper slams 'boorish' Eric Greitens for 'vile, deeply appalling' ad promoting violence
Extremists in the MAGA movement are not only promoting violence against liberals and progressives, but also, against conservatives they believe aren’t far enough to the right. Donald Trump supporters called for lynching then-Vice President Mike Pence during the January 6, 2021 insurrection; the Lincoln Project’s Rick Wilson, a Never Trump conservative and former GOP strategist, has said that he carries a gun for protection because of death threats from Trump supporters. Now, former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is drawing vehement criticism for a campaign ad that advocates violence against conservatives he considers RINOs: Republicans In Name Only.
Greitens is seeking the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate seat presently held by Sen. Roy Blunt. The controversial ad depicts Greitens with three well-armed men who are wearing military attire as they break into a house to go “RINO hunting.”
Greitens is slammed by the Kansas City Star’s editorial board in two different editorials — the first published on June 20, the second on June 21. The editorials, both of which condemn Greitens for encouraging violence against fellow Republicans, are equally scathing.
\u201cWe are sick and tired of the Republicans in Name Only surrendering to Joe Biden & the radical Left.\n\nOrder your RINO Hunting Permit today!\u201d— Eric Greitens (@Eric Greitens) 1655731800
The June 20 editorial opens by pointing out that Greitens has a troubling history.
“Missourians have long been accustomed to boorish behavior from Eric Greitens, the disgraced former governor credibly accused of tying up and forcing a woman to perform oral sex on him, in addition to charges of major campaign finance violations,” the Star’s editorial board explains. “He resigned in dishonor after those allegations surfaced. Later, his ex-wife alleged he had also abused her and their children, even knocking one of their sons’ tooth loose. But the state will still be outraged by Greitens’ latest stupidity: a commercial produced to support his candidacy for the U.S. Senate.”
The Star’s editorial board continues, “In the video, Greitens introduces himself as a Navy SEAL, which is misleading enough. He’s a civilian whose service in the Navy remains highly controversial.… What follows is deeply appalling in any context, let alone in the days following gun massacres in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York. The candidate is surrounded by anonymous figures dressed in what appear to be military camouflage uniforms. The squad bashes down a door. Someone tosses a flash-bang grenade. Greitens walks through the door, into the smoke. ‘Join the MAGA crew,’ he says.”
\u201cI know this is calculated to spark a MAGA outrage cycle.\n\nGreitens: "Hunt RINOS"\nEveryone: "WTF?!?"\nGreitens on Fox: "Duh libz are trying to cancel me."\nTucker: "Hero Lib Owner"\nGreitens Emails: "They're trying to cancel me, check out my Fox hit and rush $ to me."\u201d— Rick Wilson (@Rick Wilson) 1655740048
Greitens’ mindless apologists believe that an ad like that is harmless fun. The Star doesn’t agree.
“Is Eric Greitens seriously suggesting his political critics should be shot dead?” the Star’s editorial board writes. “Murdered without consequence? It sure seems that way.”
Former Rep. Joe Walsh, appearing on CNN on June 21, told host Brianna Keilar that Greitens’ ad shows that the GOP base is “fully radicalized.”
In its June 21 editorial, the Star’s editorial board stresses that ignoring Greitens’ antics is a bad idea.
“The impulse to avert our eyes and hope this will all go away won’t work as a political strategy against the Greitens outrage machine,” the Star’s editorial board writes. “Many serious conservatives thought the best way to defuse Donald Trump’s clownish rhetoric in the 2016 presidential primary was to starve it of oxygen. After he lost the 2020 election, many hoped that simply not acknowledging his false screams about voter fraud would make him give them up. We know how those stories played out.”
The Star’s editorial board continues, “Even if Greitens drops out now, that won’t change the fact that he’s debased GOP politics to levels even lower than 25 years of Rush Limbaugh and Fox News’ worst punditry have brought them to. Missouri voters wisely avoided a catastrophe by keeping Todd Akin away from the Senate in 2012 after his ignorant comments about ‘legitimate rape.’ We’re confident that if Greitens holds on in his shameful campaign, they’ll soundly reject him and his vile threats of violence, too.”
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