JEFFERSON CITY — Former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens hit the conservative talk radio circuit Tuesday, arguing that a campaign video showing him storming a house with soldiers in search of “Republicans in name only” was intended to be a humorous metaphor.
“I don’t think there is a real person in Missouri who thinks about it literally. Not one,” Greitens said in an interview on KFTK (97.1 FM) radio. “What you’re seeing is a tremendous amount of faux outrage from leftists and RINOs.”
The video, released Monday, shows Greitens holding a shotgun and accompanying a team armed with assault rifles and flash grenades as they rush into a house in search of RINOs.
“Join the MAGA crew,” Greitens, a former Navy SEAL, says. “Get a RINO hunting permit. There’s no bagging limit, no tagging limit, and it doesn’t expire until we save our country.”
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Later Tuesday, on Kansas City’s KCMO talk radio, the Republican candidate for Missouri’s open U.S. Senate seat said the controversial video was “clearly a metaphor.”
“Every normal person around the state of Missouri saw that,” said Greitens, who is attempting a political comeback after he quit as governor in 2018.
Greitens’ campaign did not respond to requests for comment from the Post-Dispatch. During his abbreviated and rocky tenure as governor, and in his run for Senate, Greitens has parroted former President Donald Trump’s complaints about the “mainstream media.”
The 38-second video was panned by fellow Republicans and Democrats, as well as by outside groups.
The Eagle Forum PAC, the political action committee launched by the late Phyllis Schlafly, denounced the video as “deeply disturbing.”
“Advocating violence is a disqualifier for public office,” said chairwoman Anne Schlafly Cori. “Eric Greitens is not fit to serve the voters of Missouri.”
The Missouri State Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police, which has endorsed Attorney General Eric Schmitt in the crowded GOP primary, also criticized the ad.
“This deplorable video has no place in our political system and sends a dangerous message that it is somehow acceptable to kill those who have differing political beliefs,” the statement said.
Others denouncing the video were some of his GOP opponents, including U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler and Missouri Senate President Dave Schatz.
Schmitt’s campaign tweeted an eye-roll emoji.
Amid a rise in political violence, ranging from the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and the arrest of a man who threatened to kill U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Facebook took the video down and Twitter pasted a warning over the link.
Greitens, who also used violent imagery in his successful bid for governor in 2016, said critics missed the point of the video.
“It has a sense of humor,” he told KTFK.
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