Following riots at the University of California, Berkeley, on Wednesday night, President Donald Trump threatened to cut federal funding to the college.
If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view – NO FEDERAL FUNDS?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 2, 2017
“If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view — NO FEDERAL FUNDS?” the president tweeted on Thursday.
The violent protests were sparked after Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos attempted to hold a scheduled speech at the college. Yiannopoulos commonly criticizes third-wave feminism, political correctness, and Islam, while also promoting the right to free speech. Some have criticized his comments as anti-Muslim, racist, and misogynistic.
The university said in a statement that fires were set, including one triggered by a Molotov cocktail. NBC News reported that commercial-grade fireworks were thrown at police.
“The violence was instigated by a group of about 150 masked agitators who came onto campus and interrupted an otherwise non-violent protest,” UC Berkeley stated.
Police and people were attacked, the university said, adding that six people were treated for injuries. The extent of their injuries isn’t clear.
In response, Yiannopoulos said he was forced to leave due to “violent left-wing protesters.”
— Fox News (@FoxNews) February 2, 2017
— CBS News (@CBSNews) February 2, 2017
“No one’s safety is at risk from different opinions,” Yiannopoulos told Fox News. “No one’s physical safety is endangered by political ideas from a speaker on campus, but universities have sort of allowed this stuff to happen, and even in some cases encouraged it.”
He added that the protesters’ response was “heavily ironic and very, I think, self-defeating for the social justice left.”
“I annoy the feminists and the Black Lives Matter guys probably almost as much as Trump does, certainly on college campuses,” Yiannopoulos said. “So, they go for the next best thing. They go for … the person they think they can scare. Well, they don’t scare me. I will continue to give college talks until the day I drop dead.”
Of his opponents, Milo told Fox: “They never want to debate because they’re scared of losing. They don’t have the facts on their side and for 30 years the left has been able to bully people into silence by name-calling and they’ve forgotten how to argue.”