Republican House candidates Bobby Schilling and Mariannette Miller-Meeks responded to criticism Tuesday condemning their participation in a Bettendorf political forum that featured far-right anti-Semite Nick Fuentes.
Fuentes, according to the Quad-City Times, was the final speaker Monday night at the Scott County Teenage Republicans’ “Immigration Forum.” Fuentes attended the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and associates with well-known neo-Nazis and has riled conservative movements with things like comments supporting segregation.
“These demographic changes are actually quite drastic, and will change the texture of our lives and the lives of our children,” said Fuentes, according to the Quad-City Times, reporting that Fuentes “railed against both illegal and legal migration due to the ‘drastic consequences’ of immigration from non-European, non-white countries.”
Schilling, of Le Claire, and Miller-Meeks, a state senator from Ottumwa, are locked in a primary race to represent Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District. Both attended Monday night’s forum in eastern Iowa.
“I was not aware that Nick Fuentes was going to speak at the Scott County Teenage Republicans forum until he began speaking,” said Miller-Meeks, today on Twitter. “Before last night, I had no idea who he was or what he represented. Fuentes’ views are racist and anti-Semitic and they in no way reflect my own.”
There is no room in this country for racism, antisemitism, xenophobia and hate. I have been a long supporter of Israel and celebrate people of all backgrounds.
— Dr. Miller-Meeks (@millermeeks) December 3, 2019
“I had no idea who Fuentes was up until a few minutes ago,” said Schilling, Tuesday morning on Twitter. “His rhetoric is disgusting and I want in no way to be associated with him. His racist anti-Semitic statements do not reflect my own views. I proudly support Israel and I love people of all colors and ethnic backgrounds.”
Neither @millermeeks nor I had any idea that Fuentes was speaking that night as he was not on the billing nor were we ever told.
— Bobby Schilling (@BobbySchilling) December 3, 2019
Schillings’ daughter, Olivia Schilling, was one of the event’s teenage speakers who helped organize the forum.
The forum was centered on immigration issues and the “conservative movement.” It featured “angel families” — family members of Americans killed by undocumented immigrants — and guest speakers Scott Presler, a gay supporter of President Donald Trump, and Dylan Wheeler, an online “deep state” conspiracy theorist.
Iowa Democratic Party chairman Troy Price called on Schilling and Miller-Meeks to “apologize” for attending an event with a known white nationalist.
“If they disagree with Fuentes, they must denounce appearing alongside him and his views in the strongest possible terms,” said Price. “If not, then it is clear they have no business representing our state, representing our people, and representing the work that generations of Iowans have done to expand equal rights for all Iowans.”
By Elizabeth Meyer
Photo via Fuentes YouTube video