This won’t be an isolated incident, so I’m generalizing the thread title.
Former Missouri governor Eric Greitens, a Republican candidate for Senate, is being widely criticized after releasing a campaign ad Monday that shows him pretending to hunt down members of his own party.
“Today we’re goin’ RINO hunting,” Greitens announces in the video, using the acronym for the derisive phrase “Republicans in Name Only.”
In the ad, Greitens stands outside a home with a team of others dressed in tactical gear and whispers: “The RINO feeds on corruption and is marked by the stripes of cowardice.”
The tactical team then busts open the door, detonates smoke bombs inside and storms through with their guns drawn.
“Join the MAGA crew. Get a RINO hunting permit,” Greitens says, standing inside an apparently empty house surrounded by smoke. “There’s no bagging limit, no tagging limit and it doesn’t expire — until we save our country.”
The ad was posted Monday morning to various social media accounts belonging to Greitens and his Senate campaign.
The video was removed from Facebook “for violating our policies prohibiting violence and incitement,” according to Facebook spokesman Andy Stone, but the video remained on Twitter and YouTube as of early Monday afternoon.
“While this video does not violate our Community Guidelines, it is not monetizing nor running as an ad,” YouTube spokeswoman Ivy Choi said.
About four hours after Greitens posted the video, Twitter placed a warning label over the tweet, saying it “violated the Twitter Rules about abusive behavior.” However, Twitter has left the video up with a message that the company “determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.”
The ad comes amid a spate of political violence and threats against public officials, as well as a general environment of vitriol within conservative circles between those who believe former president Donald Trump’s baseless claims that the 2020 election was rigged and those in the GOP who have spoken out against those claims.
The Washington Post last year tracked how election administrators in at least 17 states received threats of violence in the months after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, often sparked directly by comments from Trump.
On Sunday, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) shared that his wife had received a letter in the mail threatening to execute his family, including their 5-month-old baby. Kinzinger is one of 10 Republicans who broke with their party last year and voted to impeach Trump, and has since been criticized by Trump and his allies as a “RINO.”