The 6-foot-5 inch Scott Presler doesn’t look like a typical conservative activist with his signature Fabio-like locks, but he’s on a mission to help reelect President Trump in 2020 and clean up America along the way.
The 32-year-old Presler’s life changed forever in the summer of 2019 when President Trump famously mocked Baltimore as a “disgusting, rat and rodent-infested mess” that “no human being” would choose to live in.
“President Trump inspired me to start cleaning up America,” Presler told Fox News. “I saw how everyone on Twitter was kind of pointing the finger, they were blaming and scapegoating, and everybody was talking about the problem but nobody was coming up with a solution.”
The situation bothered the Northern Virginia-based Presler, who didn’t understand how a major city in the United States could become so disheveled. He took to Twitter and declared he would travel to Baltimore and help clean things up – even if he was alone picking up trash on a street corner. However, the tweet went viral, and he wouldn’t be alone during his effort.
“I didn’t realize what I had done, but the flood gates had opened and all of these people from across the country, everyone was asking what they could do to help,” Presler said, admitting that he was a tad concerned when his idea took off.
“I didn’t study waste management and sanitation. I studied criminal justice, so I didn’t know a thing about putting together a huge national cleanup,” he said.
Presler spent the next six days ordering dumpsters, collecting information from potential volunteers, browsing Home Depot for inspiration and even rented a Porta Potty.
“We had 200 volunteers clean up 12 tons of trash over 12 hours from the most dangerous street in West Baltimore,” he said. “That was definitely one of the moments that changed my life.”
The event was a success so Presler continued planning events to help clean up cities across America. He has now organized cleanups of Austin, Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Denver, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Portland, Philadelphia and many other cities, with more scheduled in the coming weeks.
“The trash that I found, the amount of needles, the amount of homeless… the biggest reason why I’m doing this is I just want people to understand that we need to put America first,” he said. “We need to take care of our people. We have 50,000 homeless veterans and 500,000 homeless Americans. I think it’s wrong that we don’t prioritize the needs of our American citizens first.”
Additional cleanup events are now needed across America stemming from the aftermath of sometimes-violent protests in the wake of George Floyd’s tragic death in police custody. Presler said it’s disappointing to see several areas he’s already cleaned up get devastated by looting and rioting, but he’s been putting his loyal volunteers in touch with cleanup efforts in Minneapolis and Los Angeles, where help is needed immediately.
“We’re going to continue working to make America clean and great again,” he said, noting that he helped scrub graffiti from the Colorado State Capitol Building in Denver following protests last weekend after a food drive he organized in the city.
Presler, the son of a retired Navy captain, first decided to get involved with Republican activism when he became upset while watching Barack Obama get reelected in 2012. He watched the election night results and blamed himself for not helping register voters, making phone calls or doing whatever he could to help get a Republican back into the White House.
“I credit President Obama with helping to make me into a community organizer because he made me point a finger back at myself, and ask, ‘What are you doing to help your country?’” Presler said.
Presler, who was a 24-year-old dog walker at the time, realized he could do more than simply voting in elections going forward, and he began with the simple task of creating a Twitter account.
“Twitter absolutely changed my life,” said Presler, who now has over 639,000 followers.
Presler, who certainly stands out in a crowd, could have been mistaken for some kind of pop music sensation when fans at CPAC swarmed him. He was invited to the White House Social Media Summit and is regularly asked to speak at conservative events – a far cry from his days as a dog walker who didn’t know what he would do for a living.
Presler’s initial goal was to help register people to vote. However, now he’s combined that objective with his passion for cleaning up America – and he’s found that people on both sides of the aisle want to help.
“We’re not only getting Republicans, but we’re also getting some Democrats, we’re getting Independents, that are coming to these cleanups across the country," he said. "And I ask every single person, ‘Are you registered to vote at your current address?’ And I make sure that they’re registered and ready to vote."
“I think the magic behind these cleanups is No. 1, I don’t make it about the president. The reason why these cleanups are successful is that I make it about love,” Presler added. “People are really attracted to that message of just community and service of giving back.”
Presler is regularly asked how he can afford his lifestyle and who funds the cleanup efforts, but the answer shocks most people.
“I do all of these trips for free. I don’t charge a speaking fee, the only thing I ask for is my travel and my lodging so I break even,” Presler said, noting that he relies on donations from supporters, but is that he’s never had to beg for cash.
“I want President Trump to win so badly that I’m willing to do whatever it takes legally in order to do it... I have never publicly asked for a dime.”
Presler had to cancel his scheduled cleanups from April through mid-May because of the coronavirus pandemic, but traveled to Georgia for an event as soon as the state opened up. He wore gloves, a mask and practiced social distancing protocols and didn’t mind the stigma that came with entering the first area of the country to open back up.
“That’s kind of why we wanted to do it, to offer hope to people,” he said. “There is a way to continue living our lives while also still being smart.”
Presler didn’t like the way coronavirus was handled in many areas and wants “less government” with “more freedom” as a result. He feels that the GOP taking control of the House of Representatives in November could help make that happen – so he’s putting an emphasis on registering voters in particular areas.
“Republicans need 18 seats to flip the House from blue to red, just 18,” Presler said, noting that he has strategically focused on specific House districts during his upcoming cleanup efforts – such as Beaufort, S.C., a district that flipped blue in 2018.
“I’m focusing strategically to flip it back,” he said, adding that he has similar plans for blue districts in Texas and California.
“I want to be able to live my life, so long that I can do whatever I want and it's not affecting anybody else,” Presler said. “As we’ve seen with the COVID responses and all of these lockdowns, who we chose as our governors, our mayors and sheriffs is going to have a really big impact on how we’re able to get about on our day-to-day lives.”
While Presler has been at events with the president, he hasn’t formally met the man he’s working so hard to reelect. He doesn’t have political aspirations for himself but wouldn’t mind seeing his efforts evolve into a formal relationship with the Trump administration.
“I often joke that the only man I would cut my hair for is President Trump,” he said.