Daniel Kelly surrogate Scott Presler is using the antisemitic platform Gab to recruit support for Wisconsin Supreme Court race
Scott Presler, a surrogate for Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Daniel Kelly, has been using Gab to ask for votes and recruit volunteers. Gab is a social media platform that’s a haven for antisemites and white nationalists and is led by a virulent antisemite who says he doesn’t want Jewish people in politics.
Presler is a QAnon conspiracy theorist who helped organize “Stop the Steal” events surrounding the 2020 election and was outside the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. He also worked for the anti-Muslim group Act for America.
He has been in Wisconsin for weeks to campaign for Kelly, who is running for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Kelly has made Presler an integral part of his campaign, such as appearing with him at a fundraiser, promoting him on social media, and thanking him for his work. Republican Party organizations and Rep. Tom Tiffany of Wisconsin have also been hosting him.
Kelly recently said that Presler’s work is “invaluable” and has defended him in the media. His campaign has said that Presler is traveling the state “for us,” writing: “Scott Presler is traveling Wisconsin with us and for us to spread our message of upholding the rule of law and the Constitution.”
Notably, Presler has been trying to drum up support for Kelly’s campaign on Gab. The social media platform is heavily populated with antisemitic, neo-Nazi, and white nationalist users, including those who have been banned from other social media platforms. Gab users regularly express hatred and violent threats toward Jewish people. In 2018, a Gab user allegedly killed 11 people at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue in 2018.
The Stanford Internet Observatory analyzed content on Gab and concluded in a June 2022 report that “extreme anti-Semitic, racist and homophobic content is rife, with open praise of Nazism, encouragement of violence against minorities, and ‘Great Replacement’ narratives.” Andrew Torba, the site’s founder and CEO, has said that Jewish people have too much political power and stated of his preferred political movement: “We don't want people who are Jewish.”
Presler is a frequent user of Gab, where he has been urging its toxic user base to support Kelly. His posts encourage people to vote, organize, volunteer, and attend events for the Republican candidate. (Presler’s Gab posts are similar to those he makes on other social media sites.)
Gab has been a prior source of media criticism in campaigns, most notably in Pennsylvania Republican Doug Mastriano's unsuccessful bid for governor.
Kelly has been criticized for associating with antisemitism after he recently spoke at an event with Matthew Trewhella, a far-right pastor and commentator who “has called the murder of an abortion provider ‘justifiable homicide,’ advocated for the creation of anti-abortion-focused militia and compared coronavirus pandemic-related mask mandates to the Holocaust.” A spokesperson for Kelly said the GOP candidate “speaks for himself and himself only.”
Trewhella also has a Gab account and has used it to tell people to vote for Kelly. In January, Trewhella promoted a post by Torba in which, among other things, he wrote that “Ye indeed had a point about exploitative contracts from Jewish media moguls” and he stands by his claim “that people like Ben Shapiro and Jordan Peterson have no place in any serious right-wing movement and resistance to the Regime unless they become Christians.” Trewhella wrote that Torba’s article had “many valid points.”
Media Matters has documented the numerous connections between Republican Party politicians and officials and antisemitic media like Gab.