Former Governor Eric Greitens Raises Eyebrows (and Questions) With New Senate Ad

(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

Former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens is a controversial candidate at best. Many on the right are worried that his past baggage — including allegations of sexual violence, blackmail, and spousal and child abuse — might hurt the GOP’s chances of holding onto the seat opening up this midterm cycle.


But a new ad, along with commentary on Twitter, has people on the left and right concerned that the former governor’s campaign might be crossing a line.

Touting his time as a Navy SEAL, Greitens is going on the attack against “RINOs” who are betraying the party on issues like gun control.

The Republicans in name only who plague the GOP “feed on corruption and are marked by the stripes of cowards,” Greitens says in the ad. After a military-style raid on an empty home, he then tells viewers to “join the MAGA crew” and “get a RINO-hunting permit.”

Members of the mainstream media, like Jake Tapper, have weighed in on the ad and the tweet. But there has been a growing backlash from the right, as documented by our sister site Twitchy.

This ad isn’t exactly a radical departure for Greitens, who has drawn from the gun rights well before.

After winning the Republican nomination, Greitens busted out the “Big Guns” in his bid to take the Governor’s mansion in the General Election.


Some were horrified. Some viewed it as a cynical ploy to woo conservative Second Amendment supporters (who might otherwise be skeptical of this relative unknown who’d only recently transitioned from Democrat to Republican). Some loved it and happily embraced this newcomer/”outsider” with the idea that if he ruffled liberal /lefty feathers, he was the guy for them.

However, Greitens is probably timing this ad poorly. Recent high-profile shootings and the mental health crisis accompanying them have made it clear that rhetoric is being interpreted as a literal call to action. What’s more, the allegations against Greitens make it clear that perhaps he should be trying to soften his image rather than double down on extremely aggressive rhetoric.

There’s also the fact that his ad is a bit misleading. He opens by saying “I’m Eric Greitens, NAVY Seal.” But, while he used to be, he wasn’t allowed to rejoin the SEALs after the allegations about his private life surfaced.

While former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is returning to the Navy, it will not be as an elite Navy SEAL — the cornerstone of his public image as an author, philanthropist and politician. The Navy’s Special Warfare community did not approve Greitens to rejoin their community, meaning he is not returning to active status to serve as a SEAL, The Kansas City Star has learned. It is unclear why. The Navy typically does not disclose internal personnel deliberations and did not provide an explanation on Thursday.
Rather than a SEAL, he is returning as an officer assigned to the Navy Operational Support Center in St. Louis. Greitens’ new designation, general unrestricted line officer, identifies reservists who do not possess a warfare qualification. “They are usually assigned to general office jobs,” Navy Personnel Command spokeswoman Cmdr. Karin Burzynski said.

Currently, polling has Greitens averaging a few points higher than leading Republican opponent and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt. Missouri Republicans seemingly face a tough choice in the primary, as several key statewide Republicans (like Schmitt and U.S. Senator Josh Hawley) have publicly gone after Greitens.


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