President Donald Trump on Thursday threatened to pull federal funding from the University of California at Berkeley after the campus experienced violent protests over a planned speech from conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos.
“If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view – NO FEDERAL FUNDS?” Trump wrote on Twitter on Thursday morning.
Berkeley is the flagship campus of the public University of California system. UC Berkeley received $370 million in federal research funding in 2015-2016, according to the university’s website.
Yiannopoulos, an editor at the far-right website Breitbart News whom many identify with the alt-right, a white-nationalist movement, was set to appear as part of a book tour.
The event was canceled after demonstrators threw smoke bombs and flares, The Associated Press and local media reported.
UC Berkeley, notably, is considered the home of the Free Speech Movement of the 1960s.
- AP Photo/Ben Margot
UC Berkeley issued this statement on the protests:
“Amid violence, destruction of property and out of concern for public safety, the University of California Police Department determined that it was necessary to remove Milo Yiannopoulos from the campus and to cancel tonight’s scheduled 8 p.m. performance.
“The decision was made at about 6 p.m., two hours before the event, and officers read several dispersal announcements to the crowd of more than 1,500 protesters that had gathered outside of the Martin Luther King, Jr. ASUC venue.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the violence and unlawful behavior that was on display and deeply regret that those tactics will now overshadow the efforts to engage in legitimate and lawful protest against the performer’s presence and perspectives.”
Bryan Logan contributed reporting to this story.
Editor’s note: Milo Yiannopoulos has previously authored columns published by Business Insider.