Two Democratic political operatives are no longer working with Hillary Clinton’s campaign, after a video showed some describing how to incite Donald Trump supporters to violence outside of the Republican nominee’s rallies.
Robert Creamer, whose group was contracted by the Democratic National Committee to stage protests outside Trump events, said Tuesday he had ended his contract after the video, secretly filmed by conservative activist James O’Keefe, was released. Creamer, who is married to Illinois Rep. Jan Schakowsky, was one of multiple Democratic strategists the video showed, allegedly discussing how to provoke violence from Trump supporters. Another contractor in the video – Scott Foval, a national field director of Americans United for Change – was let go from his job after the footage was published.
"I am unwilling to become a distraction to the important task of electing Hilary Clinton, and defeating Donald Trump in the upcoming election," Creamer said in a statement provided to CNN. "As a result I have indicated to the Democratic National Committee that I am stepping back from my responsibilities working with the campaign."
"We regret the unprofessional and careless hypothetical conversations that were captured on hidden cameras of a regional contractor for our firm, and he is no longer working with us," he said, adding that “none of the schemes described in the conversations [ever] took place.”
The 16-minute-long video showed edited clips of multiple Democratic operatives allegedly discussing how to provoke violence from Trump supporters. Foval, who was featured prominently, is recorded claiming that he arranged for some people, some of whom were mentally ill, to participate, the Associated Press reported.
"I mean, honestly, it's not hard to get some of these a--holes to pop off," Foval allegedly said in the video. "It's a matter of showing up, to want to get into their rally, in a Planned Parenthood T-shirt. Or 'Trump is a Nazi,' you know. You can message to draw them out, and draw them out to punch you."
Foval told the Associated Press that he had been set up by O’Keefe’s group Project Veritas.
"This scheme to cast legitimate organizing activities as a sinister plot is nothing but a ruse," he said, adding, "O'Keefe's crew of impostors continued to walk down a path of deception and manipulation."
Project Veritas is known for undercover stings against Democratic groups, and previously targeted the community organizing group ACORN, according to the Associated Press. O’Keefe pled guilty in 2010 to attempting to secretly record in former Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu’s office.
After Creamer’s resignation and Foval’s firing, Clinton’s campaign disavowed the described tactics Wednesday. Campaign spokesman Zac Petkanas said "some of the language and tactics referenced in the video are troubling even as a theory or proposal never executed,” and deputy communications director Kristina Schake told CNN “this isn’t something we would ever support.”
“It’s important to point out that when the GOP convention was taking place in Cleveland, there were lots of reports there were going to be protests and unrest,” Schake added. “We encouraged our supporters not to participate in any way in those protests and actually to spend their time out there registering voters.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.