ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. – A video showing two Republican state senators from St. Charles County using flamethrowers at a fundraiser is drawing fire around the world.

Social media posts claim they are burning books. Those posts are false.

Still, Democrats are using the claims and the video to boost fundraising.

The Republican fundraiser, called Freedom Fest, was held Friday night at the Sugar Creek Winery in Defiance. One of the items being raffled was a flamethrower and then this happened.

Missouri State Senators Nick Schroer and Bill Eigel tell FOX 2 they were asked to demonstrate the flamethrowers on a stack of cardboard boxes to boost interest in the raffle.

A post on X (formerly Twitter) showed the video and claimed the senators were setting fire to a stack of books. The issue of banning books deemed pornographic from libraries has been a hot-button issue in Missouri. The post had drawn nearly 20 million views by Tuesday evening.

Multiple media fact-checkers, including the Associated Press, concluded the book-burning claim was false.

The senators say there were no books in the boxes and that the book ban issue never came up at the event.

Sen. Schroer said he was actually more concerned about the Bud Light/Dylan Mulvaney transgender controversy.

“I said, ‘Well, I’m glad there’s no Bud Light boxes (in the burning stacks) because once this hits the media, that would become the story.’ Little did I know people would just make up what was happening,” he said.

“There are French outlets posting about this (false claim) in the city of Paris,” said Sen. Eigel. “It tells you how quickly a lie can travel.”

Schroer said they’d been bombarded with hate messages.

“We were called Nazis, KKK members; every name under the sun,” he said.

Eigel is a candidate for Missouri Governor.

“I can assure you, we did not have this mind,” Eigel said.

State Rep. Crystal Quade of Springfield, a Democratic candidate for governor, reposted the video with the false book burning claim, saying in the post, “If you agree we need more books … fewer flamethrowers, I hope you’ll chip in to join our campaign.”

“Sure, folks on Twitter (X) were not sure what was going on, but the intention was very clear, what these guys were doing … referencing things that we know historically are very damaging and scary for a lot of people in our country,” she said of the video.

Eigel further fueled the controversy by addressing the book banning issue online.

“You bring those woke pornographic books to Missouri schools to try to brainwash our kids, and I’ll burn those too—on the front lawn of the governor’s mansion,” he wrote.

His X account was suspended for about 5 hours after the post.

“Our elected leaders shouldn’t be burning boxes or burning books or burning anything,” Quade said. “I think what’s important here is that we have a gubernatorial candidate who literally said I will burn books on the lawn of the governor’s mansion.”

“It wasn’t even a story until folks who oppose me decided to spread a very malicious lie about it,” he said. “If I had no choice between a bonfire and protecting those kids from having this type of material in their hands, I would do what was necessary.”

“To have someone like Crystal Quade, the minority leader, taking the bait of these people on social media and promoting that fake news … I think Republicans and Democrats should agree to not spread divisiveness, to not spread hate and propaganda,” Sen. Schroer said. “I think this is the perfect time to reflect on what is true before I share an article, before I share a social media post.”

Missouri Senate Democrats are sending out fundraising emails, citing the flamethrower video.