By: Aron Anthonymuttu
President Donald Trump threatened to cut federal funding from University of California, Berkeley after violent protests Wednesday night calling for the school to cancel an appearance from Breitbart senior editor Milo Yiannopolis.
In the wee hours of the morning, Trump took to Twitter to denounce the protests that took place on the California campus. He went as far to threaten to cut federal funding from the school, despite the university condemning the violent actions that took place.
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
A former writer for Milo Yiannopoulis’ blog who asked to remain anonymous said he was getting updates through a group chat with Yiannopolis and other members of his PR team during the time of the protests. There was concern on the team before security escorted him off the premises safely.
While the former staff member does support the right to free speech, he said he understands the emotions of the protesters and rioters.
“What [Milo’s camp] will say is they’ll argue that [Milo’s campus speech] is not a discussion. I’m against violence but I am all for the right to speak out,” the source says.
“In terms of the cuts on federal funding, I’m not sure if Trump would’ve been as vocal [in this scenario] if conservatives did the same thing to liberals.”
Over 1,500 students gathered at the University of Berkeley student union centre to protest the Breitbart editor and alt-right figure’s appearance. A controversial person in the alt-right movement as well an outspoken Trump supporter, Yiannopolis’ scheduled public speech was condemned by many students although according to the Berkeley News website only a small number were responsible for the rioting.
— UC Berkeley (@UCBerkeley) February 2, 2017
It should be noted that during Trump’s campaign, he kicked out peaceful protesters and those who practiced their constitutional right to free speech as well.
Another former writer for a PR company managing Yiannopolis’ personal blog, says that the actual actions that took place on the campus aren’t surprising.
“I’d go investigate my articles after they’d get published and I’d see what reaction I got. Pretty much you have a comment section that’s so volatile. The riots are pretty much like witnessing a real life Facebook fight.”
U.C. Berkeley Chancellor, Nicholas Dirks made a statement earlier that day that although Yiannopolis’ views are contrary to the campus, they still value free expression.
As of 6 p.m. Wednesday, Yiannopolis’ appearance was cancelled due to the riots.