Weeks after Politico reported that GOP congressional hopeful Cory Mills made his fortune selling tear gas used on Black Lives Matter demonstrators, the MAGA businessman boasted in a new ad that the “liberal media is crying about it” before suggesting he’d tear-gas them himself.
“If the media wants to shed some real tears, I can help them out with that,” a smirking Mills says alongside footage of him shooting gas canisters.
Mills, a former Trump defense adviser and combat veteran, is running in the crowded GOP field to replace retiring Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy in Florida’s 7th Congressional District. Recent polling shows he is one of the favorites in the field and the first-time, self-funded candidate has already racked up an impressive list of endorsements from pro-Trump lawmakers and conservative groups. (Though he has yet to get the coveted official backing from the ex-president himself.)
With the wealthy businessman drawing increased attention in the heavily watched open race, Politico ran a story last month noting that he grew rich from his company PACEM Solutions selling arms and riot-control gear to police departments and providing training to law enforcement and private security agencies.
Noting that while “there’s no issue with the firm’s activities” legally, the company’s activities could prove “dicey” politically. Specifically, anti-riot bullets that were fired on Hong Kong protesters by police in 2019 came from a PACEM subsidiary. Throughout 2019 and 2020, millions of demonstrators took to the streets to oppose mainland China’s extradition plan—protests that drew bipartisan applause from U.S. lawmakers.
Additionally, the company’s tear gas was used against racial and social justice protesters in 2020 following George Floyd’s murder, resulting in probes by congressional Democrats about the health hazards of the firm’s products. In response to Politico’s article, Mills said that his company was “proud” to sell tear gas to police departments and noted that the PACEM subsidiary no longer supplies rubber bullets to Hong Kong.
Mills, who recently announced he launched a “six-figure” ad buy in the Orlando market, takes aim at not just Politico in his last campaign commercial but the media at large. And he insinuates that he’d try out his company’s products on reporters.
“I came home and started a company making riot-control munitions for law enforcement. You may know some of our work,” he brags in the commercial.
The ad then runs a montage of police shooting tear gas and flash grenades in the streets, all while captions blare “Antifa Rioters,” “Radical Left Protesters,” and “Black Lives Matter Protesters” and images flash of demonstrators washing their eyes out.
“And now the liberal media’s crying about it,” a smiling Mills beams, flashing Politico’s headline.
Finally, as a narrator calls Mills a “soldier, conservative, [and] outsider,” the ad airs footage of the candidate firing off tear gas while decked out in tactical gear and camouflage.
“I’m Cory Mills, and I approve this message,” Mills says while holding the tear-gas device. “Because if the media wants to shed some real tears, I can help them with that.”
The campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.