Eric Greitens, a Republican candidate for the United States Senate in Missouri, released a violent new political advertisement on Monday showing himself racking a shotgun and accompanying a team of men armed with assault rifles as they stormed — SWAT team-style — into a home in search of “RINOs,” or Republicans in name only.
“Join the MAGA crew,” Mr. Greitens, a former Navy SEAL, declares in the ad. “Get a RINO hunting permit. There’s no bagging limit, no tagging limit, and it doesn’t expire until we save our country.”
During a hearing by the committee on Thursday, J. Michael Luttig, a former federal judge widely respected by conservatives, suggested that Mr. Trump and his allies posed a “clear and present danger to American democracy.”
While much of the violent speech and image-making by Republicans has been aimed at Democrats, some of it, as in Mr. Greitens’ ad, has been focused on fellow party members thought to be insufficiently conservative.
The Greitens campaign could not immediately be reached for comment on the ad.
Mr. Greitens has sought an endorsement from Mr. Trump, so far without success. His campaign chair is Kimberly Guilfoyle, the fiancée of Donald Trump Jr.
Experts have warned that violent rhetoric can often result in actual physical violence.
“When individuals feel more confident and legitimate in voicing violent sentiments, it can encourage others to feel more confident in making actual violence easier,” said Robert Pape, who studies political violence at the University of Chicago. “Unfortunately, this is a self-reinforcing spiral.”
Some Republicans criticized Mr. Greitens for posting the ad.
“Every Republican should denounce this sick and dangerous ad from Eric Greitens,” Barbara Comstock, a former Republican congresswoman from Virginia, said on Monday. “This is just a taste of the ‘clear and present danger’ that Judge Luttig talked about last week.”