KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Missouri politicians are calling for former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens to exit the Senate race after Greiten's ex-wife accused him of physical abuse and "unstable" behavior in court documents released Monday.
Missouri Rep. Vicky Hartzler, who is running for Senate against Greitens, spoke out, calling attention to the pattern of accusations against Greitens.
"I’m extremely troubled by the new allegations of abuse by Eric Greitens from his ex-wife," Hartzler said. "This is a pattern of criminal behavior that makes Eric unfit to hold any public office. He should drop out of the U.S. Senate race immediately and seek immediate professional help."
Lucas Kunce, another candidate in the race, seconded Hartzler's statement, saying "Eric Greitens should be in prison," and "needs to immediately drop out of the race."
Rep. Billy Long who is also running for Senate echoed the sentiment.
"Like most of America I'm shocked and appalled by what was in Sheena Greitens' sworn affidavit about Eric Greitens,” Long said. “He is clearly unfit to represent the state of Missouri in the United States Senate. There’s no way he can stay in this race."
Missouri Senate Majority Leader Caleb Rowden condemned Greitens in a Tweet.
Real men don’t abuse their wife.
Real men don’t abuse their children.
Eric Greitens is not a real man.
He is a fake, failed politician and a terrible human being.
— Caleb Rowden (@calebrowden) March 21, 2022
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt also reacted to the allegations, calling them "disgusting" and "sickening."
"The behavior described in this affidavit is cause for Eric Greitens to be in prison, not on the ballot for U.S. Senate. He should end his campaign immediately," Schmitt said.
Sen. Josh Hawley Tweeted "If you hit a woman or a child, you belong in handcuffs, not the United States Senate."
Greitens' campaign manager, Dylan Johnson, denied the validity of the alleged abuse.
"His ex-wife is engaged in a last-ditch attempt to vindictively destroy her ex-husband,” Johnson said. “Eric has always been a great Dad, who loves his boys and has always put them first, and that is why he is filing for full custody of his children.”
Greitens later announced in a statement that he is seeking full custody of his sons, saying that "Being a father is the joy of my life" and that he will "continue to pray for their mother and hope that she gets the help that she needs."
"I understand that while I was with my boys last week, she was in Washington, D.C. Sadly, political operatives and the liberal media peddle in lies," Greitens said in the statement. "However, I have faith, and I know that ultimately truth will always prevail."
Sheena Greitens said that she stands by her sworn statements.
"My only interest is what's best for my two children, and for the last four years, I have gone to great lengths to keep these family matters private to protect them," she said in a statement. "I am not interested in litigating this matter anywhere else other than the courtroom. At the appropriate time in the legal process, I will provide whatever evidence and documentation the court requests, including testimony under oath."