Facebook removed a campaign video yesterday (June 20th) by Missouri Republican U.S. Senate candidate Eric Greitens that shows him carrying a shotgun and saying he’s hunting “RINOs,” which is short for “Republicans In Name Only.” Some conservatives use the disparaging term to refer to Republicans who are more moderate or who they view as being so.
Greitens, who formerly was governor of Missouri before resigning in disgrace in 2018, appears in the ad with an armed military tactical team outside a home and whispers, “The RINO feeds on corruption and is marked by the stripes of cowardice.” The team breaks through the front door and throw in what appear to be flash-bang grenades. Greitens then enters the empty living room through the smoke and says, “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.”
Facebook said it removed the video was violating its policies “prohibiting violence and incitement.” Twitter said the post violated its rules about abusive behavior, but it left it it up because it was in the public’s interest to do so. However, Twitter prevented the post from being shared any further. Other candidates in the Missouri Senate race condemned the video, as did the Missouri Fraternal Order of Police, and the majority leader of the state Senate, Republican Caleb Rowden, who tweeted, “We have been in contact with the Missouri Highway Patrol and hope that former Governor Greitens finds the help he needs.” Greitens’ campaign manager waved off the outrage, saying, “If anyone doesn’t get the metaphor, they are either lying or dumb.”
Greitens is facing allegations of domestic abuse by his ex-wife, which he has strongly denied. He resigned as governor in 2018 amid criminal investigations and after he was accused of having an extramarital affair with his hairdresser and taking a compromising photo of her to keep her from talking about it.
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