Republican officials in several states are scheduled to appear at events with social media personality Scott Presler, who worked for an anti-Muslim hate group and frequently promoted the QAnon conspiracy theory. Numerous Republicans have helped promote Presler in recent years.
Presler works for the Republican group Rise PAC and has hundreds of thousands of social media followers. Right-wing media outlets like Fox News, Newsmax, and One America News have celebrated his work in recent years.
Presler has a history of extremism that includes:
- Working for an anti-Muslim hate group. Presler was formerly a lead strategist for ACT for America, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled an anti-Muslim hate group. The Daily Beast reported that “in his role at ACT, Presler took the lead in organizing a nationwide series of ‘March Against Sharia’ rallies in mid-2017. As the group’s Facebook administrator, he oversaw what SPLC characterized as a ‘plentiful’ outpouring of ‘racist and violent content,’ collaborated with avowed neo-Nazi Billy Roper, and co-organized a rally with Patriot Prayer founder Joey Gibson in Portland, Oregon, which the city eventually canceled.”
- Promoting QAnon in dozens of instances. Presler promoted the QAnon conspiracy theory through hashtags in dozens of posts on his Instagram account, according to a Media Matters search.
- Participating in “Stop the Steal” events. Presler has frequently promoted the false claim that the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald Trump. He also helped organize “Stop the Steal” events. He was in Washington, D.C., on January 6 for the insurrectionist rally. He posted a video of people outside the Capitol and labeled the gathering “the largest civil rights protest in American history.”
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), the third-ranked Republican in the House, recently praised Presler and said that her team was going to rally with him in New York on August 25 (Stefanik was reportedly not personally scheduled to attend). The event received media scrutiny and drew criticism from Democrats. Presler later canceled his appearance, and a Republican official cited a COVID-19 case in RISE PAC as the reason.
Presler is still set to appear at several other events with Republican officials in the coming months.
He is scheduled to appear at a September 1 event hosted by The Republican Club of Butler, New Jersey. The club announced that state Sen. Joseph Pennacchio, along with state Assembly candidate Christian Barranco and congressional candidate Darius Mayfield, are scheduled to appear at the event.
Presler is also the scheduled headliner for an October 9 event for the Republican Party of Medina County in Ohio. Former Rep. Jim Renacci (R-OH), who is the Medina County GOP chair and a candidate for governor, will also speak at the event.
Presler is additionally slated to appear at an October 23 event in Pocatello, Idaho, with state Rep. Tammy Nichols (R).
Numerous Republican organizations and candidates have hosted Presler in recent years. The following are just several of many examples:
- The Fairfax County Republican Party (Virginia) hosted Presler on July 7, 2020. The event included Aliscia Andrews, who was running for Congress at the time. Andrews has praised Presler and called him a friend. She has worked for the gubernatorial campaign of Glenn Youngkin this year.
- The Murrysville Export Republican Committee (Pennsylvania) hosted frequent Fox News guest Sean Parnell and Presler for an event in October 2020. Parnell is now running for Senate in the state.
- Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA) hosted Presler for an October 2020 rally.
- The Republican Party of Louisiana hosted Presler in May.