Actual small government conservatives can indeed distance themselves from a fascist ideology like Nazism, because fascism implies an extremely strong, authoritarian government. In many ways, fascism aligns with aspects of the left which seek to increase government control over our lives, but those desires for increased government control on the left tend to only be aimed at the economic side, whereas fascism is much more about increased government control across the board.
In the past, the opposite was true regarding the right wing in the US. They wanted that kind of authoritarian control for SOCIAL things, allowing the government to inject its controls into things like who you can have sex with, or what drugs you can use, but generally argued that the government should stay out of your economic business.
In the past, both sides could be called “fascists” but it was largely just hyperbole, because neither side took it as far as actual fascists, and both sides had at least some portion of their ideology which directly opposed some major component of fascism.
Now though, the modern GOP has really eroded its separation from such things.
Trump’s bullshit populist stuff fully embraces authoritarianism on the social side of things, straight up scapegoating minorities for all of the world’s problems, trying to make archaic laws allowing for religious oppression, grinding away constitutional rights, etc. And then on the economic side of things, they’re ALSO embracing authoritarian bullshit, which used to be the domain of the far left… things like economic protectionism, lying to workers telling them that the government is going to do stuff that brings their jobs back (back from the past, through some sort of magical time travel mechanism).
In the past, neither side could fairly be called fascists, in the US.
Now, the right wing is increasingly falling into that mold quite easily…not even counting the fact that they are partially made up of literal fucking nazis and fascists at this point.