BETTENDORF — It turns out that Nick Fuentes, a far right-wing speaker who sparked controversy at a Monday Quad Cities GOP rally, was invited by a staffer of one of the speakers. The staffer has since been fired.
The Dispatch-Argus of East Moline reported Thursday night that Fuentes was invited, without the knowledge of the other speakers, church or organizers, by Michael Sisco. Sisco, until Tuesday, had been a coordinator for former U.S. Rep. Bobby Schilling (R-Rock Island). Shilling had been one of the speakers at what was called an “immigration forum” by organizers.
According to the newspaper, Schilling called Fuentes “an evil man” on Thursday.
“Nobody would have stayed in that church, nobody would have attended that event, had they known what a racist, white supremacist—whatever he is,” Schilling said.
The final speaker at the rally, Fuentes spoke against both legal and illegal immigration, calling for all immigration to be shut down so a “monoculture” could be created. He said that a drive around Chicago showed that demographic changes were “not good.” Fuentes ended his speech with support for the Trump administration, which got applause from the audience.
Fuentes had attended the infamous “Unity the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va. back in 2017. The rally attracted far right figures from across the country protesting the removal of Confederate statues. Large crowds of counter-protesters confronted them and the city was rocked by street fighting. One counter-protester, Heather Heyer, was killed when white supremecist James Alex Fields Jr. into a crowd of counter-protesters.
Schilling told the newspaper there has been a recent spike in far-right activists disrupting conservative and Republican events. He also alleged members of antifa circulated stories online after the forum.
Sisco told the Dispatch-Argus that he and a far right activist named Dylan Wheeler invited Fuentes as an unpaid speaker without the knowledge of anyone else. Wheeler had been originally scheduled to speak but was removed when he heckled one of the other speakers, Iowa Sen. Mariannette Miller-Meeks. Schilling and Miller-Meeks are running for Iowa’s 2nd District for the U.S. House of Represenatives. Both have denounced Fuentes.
According to the newspaper, Schilling questioned Sisco about his connections to Fuentes, which Sisco denied. But he was fired when Schilling got screenshots of racist activity on Sisco’s now deleted Twitter account.
“His rhetoric is disgusting and I want in no way to be associated with him,” Schilling tweeted. “His racist, anti-Semitic statements do not reflect my own views.”
Everyone else involved with the rally have disavowed Fuentes. However, Sisco told the Dispatch-Argus he was upset Schilling’s statement “threw Nick under the bus.”
“It’s not a personal betrayal,” Sisco said. “It’s a betrayal of [Schilling’s] principles, which is even more disappointing, to be honest.”
Sisco defended Fuentes comments.