Just days before it was scheduled to hold a fundraiser on Schofield Base this Saturday, the Honolulu County Republican Party was asked to move the event off the military facility.
Party Chairman Brett Kulbis said the plan was to hold the fundraiser at the new Restaurant 604 at the U.S. Army installation. It has been advertised on the party’s website and in local party circles.
But Kulbis on Wednesday said the restaurant chain was told by the base commander that political events could not be held there. The event will still be held, but Kulbis declined to reveal the new location.
The fundraiser will feature guest Scott Presler, a mainland Republican party activist.
Presler’s Facebook page describes him as “an Eagle Scout, who received the Ronald Reagan Award at CPAC in 2021.” CPAC stands for the Conservative Political Action Conference.
A video posting on the page by Presler Thursday afternoon said he would be appearing in Hilo that evening to discuss voter registration, running for office and “election integrity.”
He also sported a T-shirt reading “Haele Pu Brandon,” which he claimed is Hawaiian for “Let’s go, Brandon.” The English phrase is widely known as code for an insult to President Joe Biden.
Presler has a checkered recent past. An Aug. 24 story in the Times Union of Albany, New York, described Presler as “a former top strategist for an anti-Muslim group.”
The Upstate Conservative Coalition, which sponsored one of the Presler headliners, was forced to find a new venue after receiving “nasty messages and threats.”
“Presler also attended rallies on Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol and extolled on Twitter that ‘January 6th, 2021’ is going to be a defining moment in American history,” the Times Union reported Aug. 25.
The Presler events do not appear isolated. In February 2021 the Council on American-Islamic Relations called on organizers of CPAC “to drop anti-Muslim speaker Scott Presler.”
Presler was active in politics during the Trump presidency. The Southern Poverty Law Center in 2017 identified Presler as “lead activism strategist for the anti-Muslim hate group ACT for America.”
And NPR that same year identified him as national coordinator of a nationwide March Against Sharia.
“ACT for America organizers say an adherence to Sharia among Muslims leads to abuses against women, from discrimination to honor killings,” NPR reported.
Pressler did not respond to a request for comment on Facebook.
Kulbis declined to comment on the news reports. He said Presler was invited “to help energize our Republican base.”
Money raised from the event will be used to support the party’s two precinct election meetings this year due to reapportionment.
The Department of Defense says that “political candidates and other elected or appointed officials” may access DOD installations and facilities to conduct official business or various other activities” but “they are NOT allowed to engage in campaign or election-related activities,” including fundraisers.
Hawaii law does not specifically prohibit political fundraisers from being held on government property if “the facility’s use rules do not prohibit political activities on the premises.”
Civil Beat was not able to reach public affairs and media relations at Schofield for comment.
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