AP NEWS
ADVERTISEMENT

Virginian linked to hate group will hold “activism” seminar in New Milford

February 18, 2019 GMT

A Republican activist who previously worked for a controversial hate group is coming to New Milford to teach an “activism class” on getting out the vote in preparation for 2020.

It’s not clear what is motivating Scott Presler to lead this training on March 16.

For up-to-date information on public policy issues, sign up for the CT Politics newsletter.

J.R. Romano, chair of the Connecticut Republican Party, said Monday he had never heard of Presler and did not invite him.

But apparently Presler has supporters: an EventBrite page advertising the event said Presler, from Virginia, is seeking a bigger venue for the training because of significant public interest.

ADVERTISEMENT

“I’m a big fan! Can’t wait,” wrote state Rep. Cara Pavalock-D’Amato, R-Bristol, on Facebook last week. When reached for comment Monday, Pavalock-D’Amato said she did not know much about Presler, but had seen a video of him doing pro-Trump activism.

Presler, who is gay, was previously lead activism strategist for the hate group Act for America from February 2017 to 2018, his Facebook page says.

The organization, based in Virginia Beach, is identified by the Anti-Defamation League as the largest anti-Muslim group in America. The group spreads conspiracy theories about Muslims and “stokes irrational fears” of them, ADL says. The Southern Poverty Law Center also labels Act for America as an “extremist hate group.”

The 30-year-old is now a regional field director for the Republican Party of Virginia, according to his Facebook.

In July, Presler sued a Democratic candidate for the Virginia legislature over 2017 campaign ads that linked him to neo-Nazis and white supremacists. A hearing for the case has been set for March, said Rhiannon Jordan, Presler’s attorney.

Presler did not respond to requests for comment.

emunson@hearstmediact.com; Twitter: @emiliemunson