‘Shock and awe don’t work’ Missouri FOP rebuffs Greitens
Jefferson City, Missouri— Former Gov. Eric Greitens sent shockwaves across the national political landscape on Monday by posting a political ad centered on “RINO hunting.” Greitens is running for the U.S. Senate in the 2022 election cycle.
RINO, which means “Republican in name only,” has become a popular nickname among far-right Republicans to target moderates in their own party. Greitens has increasingly used the language to secure a far-right electoral base since his 2018 resignation from the governorship amid a sexual assault scandal.
Greitens’ announcement shows him carrying a shotgun, calling on his followers to get a “RINO hunting license”. The US Senate candidate then broke down the door of a house labeled as ‘the RINO’s lair’ with the help of a SWAT team, throwing an explosive device and storming the building after breaking down the door.
The announcement and its militant slant caught the attention of politicians and media across the country.
The Fraternal Order of Police of Missouri (FOP), one of the most powerful political entities in the Show-Me states, issued a press release denouncing Greitens’ announcement on Monday afternoon. The FOP has backed Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt in the Senate race to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt.
“We were shocked and surprised by this publicity,” Missouri FOP President Jay Schroeder said in a phone call Tuesday.
“You know, in that time when we had all this mass violence and Missouri saw crime and violence skyrocketing in its major metropolitan cities. I think that ad — it almost shows that it encourages violence. And when we had, you know, mass shootings and all that stuff, I think that’s the last thing you need to do as a politician.
FOP press releases condemned the violent nature of the announcement, then raised questions about Greitens’ ability to make sound judgments as a senator.
“The creation and Release of that video Again demonstrates that Mr.. Greitens Is not own the sound judgement necessary at represent the people of Missouri in the United States Senate, and this he has learned nothing of the legal problems this he experimented prior at resigned as Missouri‘s Governor,” the press release read.
Even with the myriad negative responses, pundits believed the ad would do exactly what Greitens wants — anger the voter base who supported him through his scandal and resignation.
“Greitens knows his audience and knows why they run,” said Austin Petersen, a conservative radio host at KWOS Jefferson City. “He’s running in a Republican primary in Missouri, and just like the last gun ad he did that propelled him to victory, this one seems to be having the same effect.”
peterson interviewed Greitens about the announcement on Tuesday morning and has since posted a photo on his own twitter feed “RINO hunting license.”
The FOP hopes Greitens’ strategy won’t work and will instead drive voters away from him.
“I think it’s probably a strategy on his part to piss off that base,” Schroeder said. “I just hope that in the future Missouri voters see who he is and what he does. You know, shock and awe don’t work.
The FOP has taken a middle-of-the-road approach, and Schroeder says that going forward, they will continue to push back against any action that incites violence.
“We’d like to work with everyone on both sides of the aisle, and we’re not going to put up with that type of behavior from any of our politicians,” Schroeder said. “We have police officers rolling in the streets – and it (inciting violence) hurts people, it hurts police officers – And that’s not the message the FOP wants to defend.”
Greitens’ announcement is visible here, viewer discretion recommended.
The full Missouri FOP press release can be viewed here.
Featured image: Mugshot of former Governor Eric Greiten after he was arrested on a 2018 privacy invasion charge. (St. Louis Metro Police Department)