Things are getting tense between Eric Greitens, the beleaguered Republican Senate candidate in Missouri, and GOP establishment figures who want him to drop out of the race.
Greitens is a former Missouri governor who resigned in 2018 over deeply disturbing sexual misconduct allegations and claims that he broke campaign finance laws — all of which he has denied. He's an outspoken Donald Trump supporter and has endeared himself to the former president, in part because he's criticized Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, one of Trump's political foes.
Greitens’ ex-wife has accused him in court of physically abusing her and their two children while they were married. McConnell reportedly seemed hopeful that the news would torpedo Greitens' campaign, according to a New York Times report last week.
“We caught a break,” McConnell reportedly told fellow GOP senators.
Greitens has since claimed — without evidence — that McConnell and GOP operative Karl Rove conspired against him to spread allegations of misconduct. Specifically, Greitens said the two worked together to pass details of the latest allegations to the Senate Leadership Fund, an organization led by McConnell’s former chief of staff.
“I want to tell you directly, Karl Rove and Mitch McConnell," Greitens said in a video he tweeted. "Hear me now. You are disgusting cowards. And we are coming for you. We are no longer going to allow you to attack me and attack my kids and to destroy this country.”
Greitens called McConnell and Rove "RINOs" — Republicans in name only — and said “true patriots” were “coming for” them.
“We’re not just taking back our party, we’re taking back our country,” he claimed.
Both Rove and Sheena Greitens, the former governor’s ex-wife, have said there was no conspiracy to release the details.
By invoking a mysterious “we,” Greitens seemed to be referring to pro-Trump Republicans — fellow conservatives who picture themselves as more radical than McConnell and other establishment Republicans. His video was a prime example of a Trumpian strategy: framing personal disputes as political crusades against unpatriotic officials.
It’s also one of several examples showing how personality clashes between the conservative establishment and the movement's fringe figures — perhaps even more than policy differences — could threaten the party’s attempt to retake the Senate this fall.