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Does Navy SEAL vet Eric Greitens’ ‘RINO hunting’ Senate ad go too far or do you love it?

Navy SEAL vet and Missouri GOP candidate Eric Greitens in a "RINO hunting" campaign ad. (Screenshot).
June 20, 2022

Eric Greitens, a U.S. Navy SEAL veteran and Navy Reserve officer now running in the Republican primary to replace retiring Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), released a new campaign ad on Monday in which he and a group of men with rifles and tactical gear storm into a house as he calls for viewers to hunt “RINOs.”

Greitens begins the ad by racking a shotgun and telling viewers “We’re going RINO hunting.” The term RINO is a popular acronym for “Republicans In Name Only,” a pejorative used in some conservative circles to refer to politicians who run and serve as members of the Republican Party but whose actions aren’t conservative enough for their liking.

“The RINO feeds on corruption and is marked by the stripes of cowardice,” Greitens’ ad continues as he and the group of men in tactical gear gather on the front stoop of a house and prepare to breach through its front door.

As the ad continues, one of the men in tactical gear swings a battering ram to bust open the front door while another man tosses a flash-bang through the open doorway. After the flash grenade explodes, the men in tactical gear file into the room with rifles raised.

Greitens follows the tactical team into the room and says, “Join the MAGA crew,” referencing President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan to “Make America Great Again.”

“Get a RINO hunting permit,” Greitens continues. “There’s no bagging limit, no tagging limit and it doesn’t expire until we save our country.”

A caption for Greitens’ campaign ad reads, “We are sick and tired of the Republicans in Name Only surrendering to Joe Biden & the radical Left.”

Greitens commissioned as an officer in the Navy Reserve in 2001 and completed Basic Underwater Demolitions/SEAL (BUD/S) training in 2002. Greitens saw deployments in Afghanistan, Southeast Asia, the Horn of Africa, and Iraq. In 2005, President George W. Bush appointed Greitens to serve as a White House Fellow while he simultaneously continued to serve in the Navy Reserve.

In 2007, Greitens donated his combat pay from his most recent deployment in Iraq to found The Mission Continues to help veterans return to civilian life and find new ways to serve their communities.

In a 2015 Fox News op-ed, Greitens wrote that he had been a Democrat in his early life but had moved to the Republican Party. Greitens ran for governor of Missouri in 2016 as a Republican and won. Greitens resigned from office in 2018 following allegations of campaign finance violations and sexual assault. An investigation into the campaign finance allegations found no evidence of wrongdoing on Greitens’ part.

In 2019, Greitens returned to the Navy Reserve, though not as a SEAL.

In March, Greitens ex-wife Sheena Chestnut submitted a sworn affidavit accusing him of physical abuse. Greitens has called the claims “lies.”