President Donald Trump threatened to strip federal funds from the University of California Berkeley after protests against right-wing speaker Milo Yiannopoulos turned violent Wednesday night.
“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 tweeted the following morning.
Hundreds of peaceful protesters streamed onto campus in the evening, but campus police cancelled the event an hour later around 6 p.m. when a segment of masked protesters began shooting fireworks, tearing down barricades and shattering windows.
Yiannopoulos, an editor at Breitbart News and a firebrand in the white nationalist “alt-right” movement, was scheduled to speak to college republicans at 8 p.m.
This is not the first time that Trump has threatened federal funding in the Bay Area. Trump, who has been in office for less than two weeks, has already signed an executive order to defund sanctuary cities like San Francisco and Berkeley.
While the executive order attempts to strip funds for cities that do not follow a particular federal law regarding a person’s immigration status, it is unclear what authority Trump has to take away money from U.C. Berkeley.
“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,” UC Berkeley said in a statement.
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