House GOP chair's rally with 'alt-right fascist' canceled after backlash -- but they're blaming COVID
Elise Stefanik (

A right-wing extremist and conspiracy theorist has reportedly canceled an upcoming campaign rally for House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (NY), blaming a COVID-19 case.

Stefanik has been enthusiastically promoting the event featuring Scott Presler — a COVID denialist and former anti-Muslim hate group leader who served as an organizer for former president Donald Trump's "Stop the Steal" movement — slated for Saratoga, New York, on Wednesday.

However, the Times Union reported Tuesday that, "Saratoga County (GOP) Chairman Carl Zeilman said that a case of COVID in RISE PAC, of which Presler is a member, forced the cancelation."

"Presler's cancelation was preceded by a wave of outrage from Democratic chairs in Stefanik's districts 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," the newspaper reported.

Last week, Stefanik announced the rally on Twitter, calling it "massive news" and describing Presler as "an American patriot." She has since deleted the tweet.

The Daily Beast reported that Stefanik's embrace of Presler — who once defended Alabama GOP Senate Roy Moore against child molestation allegations — reflected how the one-time moderate Republican congresswoman has pivoted to "an extremist MAGA base."

Stefanik challenged Electoral College results from the 2020 presidential election, voted against an independent commission to investigate the Capitol insurrection, and recently faced backlash after pushing false narratives about the events of Jan. 6.

"On a personal level, however, that pivot appears to have paid off," the Daily Beast noted, pointing to her selection to replace Wyoming GOP Congresswoman Liz Cheney, who was pushed out as conference chair after voting to impeach Trump for inciting the insurrection.

Presler, who endorsed Stefanik for GOP conference chair, has apparently set up shop in her home state, where he's been "harvesting" voter registrations. He's also on the payroll of the RISE NY PAC, which organized the Stefanik rally.

Among those who spoke out against the Stefanik-Presler rally was Saratoga Springs Public Safety commissioner Robin Dalton, a candidate for Saratoga Springs mayor.

"Scott Presler's alt-right fascism is not welcome here, not today, not tomorrow, not in our city, not in our America," Dalton said in a statement.