Updated: Rep. Elise Stefanik is partnering with QAnon conspiracy theorist Scott Presler
Update (8/24/21): The Times Union reported today that Presler “canceled an appearance Wednesday at Gavin Park that was touted by U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik and the local Republican Party. Saratoga County Chairman Carl Zeilman said that a case of COVID in RISE PAC, of which Presler is a member, forced the cancellation.” The newspaper added that “Presler’s cancellation was preceded by a wave of outrage from Democratic chairs in Stefanik’s district and others who condemned Stefanik and the Saratoga County GOP for hosting Presler, whose marches against Muslims are listed on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hate Watch list.”
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) announced that her team is planning to hold a “rally & voter registration drive” with right-wing social media personality Scott Presler this Wednesday. Presler is a conspiracy theorist who has used his social media presence to promote the QAnon conspiracy theory in dozens of posts.
Stefanik’s partnership with Presler is yet another example of Republicans embracing the violence-linked QAnon conspiracy theory and its promoters.
Presler works for the Republican group Rise PAC. Right-wing media outlets like Fox News, Newsmax, and One America News have celebrated his work for Republicans in recent years.
Stefanik, the third-ranked Republican in the House, announced on August 18 that “American Patriot @ScottPresler will be joining #TeamElise” and the Saratoga County Republican Committee of New York “for a rally & voter registration drive” on August 25 and thanked him for his work. (Update: Stefanik later deleted the tweet.)
The Times Union reported that Stefanik “is not expected to attend the event.”
The Daily Beast’s Roger Sollenberger reported after Stefanik’s announcement that Presler has a long history of engaging in extremism, including playing “a key role in ‘Stop the Steal’ efforts to overturn President Joe Biden’s victory” and working for ACT for America, “an organization that the Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center deemed the largest anti-Muslim hate group in the United States.” He added that Presler has also flirted with QAnon and linked to a tweet noting that he was pictured next to a QAnon sign.
Media Matters found additional examples of Presler embracing QAnon on Instagram, where he used QAnon hashtags in dozens of posts. Those posts, which were made in 2018 and 2019, focused on subjects like his efforts to campaign for Republicans and criticism of Democrats.
Presler used the hashtag “QAnon” in at least 54 Instagram posts, according to a Media Matters search of the data analytics tool Crowdtangle. Those posts can be seen here.
Presler also promoted the QAnon hashtag “wwg1wga” in at least 29 Instagram posts, according to a Media Matters search of Crowdtangle. Those posts can be seen here. In some cases, Presler used both “QAnon” and “wwg1wga” hashtags in some of his posts.
Here are several other examples of Pressler’s “QAnon” and “wwg1wga” hashtagged posts: