Former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens Slammed for 'RINO Hunting' Senate Campaign Ad: 'This Is Sociopathic'

The ad has been removed from Facebook and flagged by Twitter for violating the platforms' policies

Gov. Eric Greitens delivers the keynote address at the St. Louis Area Police Chiefs Association 27th Annual Police Officer Memorial Prayer Breakfast on April 25, 2018, at the St. Charles Convention Center.
Eric Greitens.

A new campaign ad from former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens shows the Senate hopeful telling his supporters he's going "RINO hunting."

In the ad, which is part of Greitens' campaign for U.S. Senate, released Monday morning, the former governor introduces himself while carrying a large gun. "Today, we're going RINO hunting," he says.

"RINO" stands for "Republican in name only," and has long been used as slang by conservative right politicians to belittle moderate Republican opponents. Today, the acronym is most commonly associated with Donald Trump's Make America Great Again movement.

"The RINO feeds on corruption," Greitens says as he and men wearing military gear gather outside of a home, "and is marked by the stripes of cowardice."

The group then enters the home using force with guns in hand.

"Join the MAGA crew, get a RINO hunting permit," Greitens says. "There's no bagging limit, no tagging limit, and it doesn't expire until we save our country."

Since posting on Monday, the 38-second ad was both flagged by Twitter and removed by Facebook for "violating policies around violence and abuse," according to NPR.

A representative for Greitens did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

2018 file photo, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens looks on before speaking at an event near the capitol in Jefferson City, Mo. Greitens, a sometimes brash outsider whose unconventional resume as a Rhodes Scholar and Navy SEAL officer made him a rising star in Republican politics, abruptly announced his resignation Tuesday, May 29, 2018, after a scandal involving an affair with his former hairdresser led to a broader investigation by prosecutors and state legislators.
Eric Greitens. Jeff Roberson/AP Photo

According to NPR, while Twitter had flagged the tweet by Monday afternoon, they allowed the ad to stay on the site, saying keeping it live "may be in the public's interest."

Greitens posted a column from The Washington Post titled "Elite Republicans are now openly encouraging political violence" on his Facebook page, along with the message "Facebook CENSORED our new ad calling out the weak RINOs. When I get to the US Senate, we are taking on Big Tech."

The column, posted Monday, discusses Greitens' latest ad.

Democratic congressman Joaquin Castro reposted the ad on Twitter along with the message, "This is sociopathic. You're going to get someone killed."

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Greitens' career in politics has been riddled with controversy dating back to 2018, when he was indicted on a felony invasion of privacy charge related to allegations that he had tried to blackmail the woman with whom he had the affair, though that charge was later dropped.

Greitens also denied wrongdoing in another 2018 criminal charge for tampering with a computer following claims that he improperly took a donor list from his nonprofit veterans group to help his political campaign.

That year, he was indicted on a felony charge of computer tampering relating to those allegations, though that charge has also since been dropped.

Faced with possible impeachment proceedings, then-Gov. Greitens resigned in June 2018 but decried "legal harassment" and said he had not "committed any offense worthy of this treatment."

In March, Greitens ex-wife, Sheena Greitens, accused her ex-husband of "unstable and coercive behavior" that included "physical violence" toward their two young children in an affidavit filed in an ongoing child custody dispute.

The former governor released a statement on Twitter at the time, calling his ex-wife's claims "completely fabricated, baseless allegations."

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