A Florida Republican campaigning for a U.S. House of Representatives seat released an ad on May 5, 2022, boasting about the use of his company’s crowd-control munitions against members of the press.
Cory Mills, who served in the Trump administration's Department of Defense and is now running for Florida’s 7th Congressional District, posted the campaign ad to YouTube and Twitter. The Floridian reported that Mills also made a“six-figure” ad buy in the Orlando media market to air the video on television.
“I came home and started a company making riot control munitions for law enforcement — you may know some of our work,” Mills says in the ad while smiling. A clip then plays of demonstrators and members of the press being shot at with crowd-control munitions and chemical irritants at various protests nationwide.
“Now the liberal media’s crying about it,” Mills continues. “If the media wants to shed some real tears, I can help them out with that.”
On YouTube, the video description reiterates that point, writing, “Cory Mills is always happy to help the liberal media shed some tears.”
The Committee to Protect Journalists, a founding partner of the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, released a statement that it was “deeply disturbing to hear a candidate for public office state that he would enjoy targeting journalists with tear gas.”
“Threatening members of the media simply for engaging in critical reporting creates an atmosphere where attacks on journalists are normalized and perceived as acceptable, and sends a message to journalists that they ought to be afraid of public officials,” CPJ Advocacy Manager Michael De Dora said. “This has no place in our political discourse and is dangerous, regardless of the tone with which it is said.”
Mills' campaign office did not return a request for comment.