A Central Florida Republican congressional candidate whose company sells tear gas is boasting in a new campaign ad that he can help the news media questioning his work “shed some real tears.”
Cory Mills, co-founder of PACEM Solutions, is running in a crowded GOP field vying for the 7th Congressional District seat being vacated by Democratic US Rep. Stephanie Murphy.
The ad includes footage of tear gas being used on Black Lives Matter demonstrators and what Mills describes the “left-wing” protesters.
“You may know some of our work,” Mills says, followed by footage of an exploding tear gas canister, riot police and protesters tending to a person in distress.
He continues, “now, the liberal media is crying about it.” He closes the 30-second ad with “if the media wants to shed some real tears, I can help them out with that.”
Mills wasn’t immediately available Friday for comment about the ad.
Politico examined Mills’ company in April, reporting that it sold tear gas that was fired at Black Lives Matter protesters and purchased another company that sold rubber bullets used against protesters in Hong Kong.
While Mills’ business activities are legal, it could put him in a “dicey position” politically, Politico reported.
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Last year, several Congressional Democrats sent a letter to Andrew Knaggs, CEO of PACEM, asking about the company’s sales of tear gas products, safety testing and adverse health effects.
In a written statement to Politico, Mills said he was “proud” to sell tear gas to law enforcement and was “thankful that our officers have less lethal options available to ensure order and preserve lives.”
He told Politico the company never supplied the Chinese government, but a subsidiary sold less-lethal munitions to Hong Kong’s independent government before PACEM acquired it. PACEM discontinued sales to Hong Kong, he said.
On the campaign trail, Mills has echoed many views held by Gov. Ron DeSantis and other conservative leaders in Florida.
The former combat veteran and President Donald Trump defense adviser has blasted vaccine mandates, the masking of school children and “critical race theory,” a legal framework mostly taught in law schools. He said he supports “constitutional carry,” which would allow Floridians to carry handguns without a permit.
A dozen other Republicans are vying for the 7th District seat, including state Rep. Anthony Sabatini and Brady Duke, a former Navy SEAL.