- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 20, 2016

A Hillary Clinton campaign consultant insisted Thursday that she made safety a priority when organizing anti-Trump protests, including a demonstration that forced the closure of an Arizona highway in March.

Zulema Rodriguez posted a statement defending her role in staging demonstrations against Republican Donald Trump after she was featured in a hidden-camera video posted by Project Veritas Action along with other Democratic operatives.

The explosive video featured Democratic consultants discussing how they plant paid agitators at Trump rallies to incite violence, but Ms. Rodriguez said she was concerned with ensuring “safe places.”

“I’ve always strived to make the protests I’ve organized safe places,” Ms. Rodriguez said. “I’ve willingly traveled across the country to connect people that were previously not connected, and have worked tirelessly to elevate the cause of immigration reform.”

She also said her comments on the “Rigging the Election” video released Monday were “taken out of context and selectively edited.”

“What was omitted and what I constantly repeated to the infiltrators was that my team and I work together to make sure everyone stays safe while exercising their rights,” Ms. Rodriguez said. “I believe this to my core.”

In the video, Ms. Rodriguez is shown talking to an undercover investigator about her work with the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee during the Democratic National Convention in July.

“I just had a call today with the campaign and the DNC. Every day at one o’clock,” Ms. Rodriguez said on hidden camera.

She said had partnered with Democracy Partners’ Aaron Black on a protest in Chicago that led to the cancellation of a campaign event for Republican Donald Trump, and that her team “also did the Arizona one where we shut the highway down.”

Both protests occurred in March, shortly after she received two checks totaling about $1,600 from Hillary for America, according to Federal Elections Commission records.

Project Veritas spokesman Stephen Gordon challenged her interpretation of such activity as safe.

Ms. Rodriguez seems to be forgetting that numerous violent fights broke out between protesters and drivers as a result of her actions and planned protest on the highway in Arizona,” Mr. Gordon said. “Shutting a highway down could have prevented emergency vehicles from passing through, which could have caused accidents. What she did was reckless, violent and selfish.”

Ms. Rodriguez said in an email she works as an “entrepreneur and consultant,” often on contract, in an effort to “encourage, empower and educate voters of color throughout the country.”

Two Democratic consultants shown in the video are no longer affiliated with the Clinton camp. Democracy Partners head Robert Creamer stepped down from the presidential campaign shortly after the video was released, while Americans United for Change national field director Scott Foval was fired.

Mrs. Clinton told reporters after Wednesday’s presidential debate in Las Vegas that she was unaware of the dirty tricks exposed in the videos.

“I know nothing about this,” Mrs. Clinton said. “I can’t deal with every one of [Mr. Trump‘s] conspiracy theories.”

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