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Facebook, Twitter say Eric Greitens campaign video violates rules

Former Missouri governor now running for US Senate
Greitens ad.jpg
Posted at 12:33 PM, Jun 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-20 18:33:22-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A campaign ad released Monday on social media by U.S. Senate candidate Eric Greitens violated abusive behavior rules at social media sites Facebook and Twitter.

The ad, released on Facebook and Twitter Monday morning, remains on Twitter though with the disclaimer that the video and tweet remain accessible “in the public’s interest.”

Greitens ad.jpg
June 20, 2022 screenshot

A Meta spokesperson confirmed to KSHB 41 that the ad was taken down on its platform: "We removed this video for violating our policies prohibiting violence and incitement."

Greitens is locked into a hotly contested primary to win the Republican nomination in the August primary for U.S. Senate.

Rep. Vicky Hartzler, another Missouri Republican, is among Greitens' opponents in the quest to replace retiring Sen. Roy Blunt. She issued a statement Monday condemning the ad.

“Eric Greitens is an abuser, a blackmailer, and less than ten years ago — a Democrat,” a Hartzler campaign spokesperson said in an e-mail to KSHB 41 News. “There is no basement too low for him to cover up his past Obama support and blindfold Missourians into believing he represents their values.”

The ad features Greitens, identified as a U.S. Navy Seal, armed with a weapon and wearing military fatigues. The video shows Greitens and a group of other people in military fatigues break open the front door of an apparently empty house.

The Greitens ad focuses on hunting “RINOs,” a play on trophy-hunting using an acronym for Republicans-in-name-only meant as a a pejorative toward moderate conservatives.

The nature of the ad also drew condemnation from other political figures.

Lucas Kunce, a Marine veteran and Democrat seeking his party’s nomination for U.S., released a statement calling Greitens a “criminal.”

“Terrorists, child abusers and criminals like Eric Greitens shouldn’t even be able to get a weapon,” Kunce said. “I’m the Marine veteran running against this guy. Send me to the U.S. Senate and I’ll keep our families safe from criminals like him.”

The Missouri State Fraternal Order of Police, or FOP, denounced the "deplorable" video, saying it "has no place in our political system and sends a dangerous message that is it [sic] acceptable to kill those who have differing political beliefs."

The Missouri FOP, which has more than 27 local lodges across the state, cited the 2017 shooting of five people at a U.S. House of Representatives charity softball game and recent charges against a man who threatened a U.S. Supreme Court justice in its condemnation.

"The creation and release of this video again demonstrates that Mr. Greitens does not possess the sound judgement [sic] necessary to represent the people of Missouri in the United State Senate, and that he has learned nothing from the legal problems that he experienced prior to resigning as Missouri's Governor," the Missouri state FOP said in a statement.

Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas called Greitens “embarrassing.”

“If he gets through the primary, Eric Greitens will be the most embarrassing major party candidate in a statewide race since David Duke,” Lucas tweeted.

Duke, a former high-ranking Ku Klux Klan member, famouly ran for president in 1988.

Greitens, a St. Louis native who switched from the Democratic to the Republican party in 2015, was elected as Missouri governor in 2016. He served less than 17 months before resigning amid a blackmail scandal involving an extramarital affair.

Greitens' ex-wife, Sheena, accused him of physical abuse in a court filing that became public in March 2022.

This is a developing story and may be updated.