A report by the Washington Post states “The list of things President Trump has threatened to defund includes sanctuary cities, Planned Parenthood, NASA climate research and, now, the University of California at Berkeley.
Before heading to the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday, Trump floated the idea of stripping federal funding from Berkeley, where a protest against a scheduled appearance by Breitbart writer Milo Yiannopoulos the previous night led to violence and vandalism. The university canceled Yiannopoulos’s speaking engagement before it began, citing safety concerns.
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
— AFP news agency (@AFP) February 2, 2017
Perhaps the president had started his morning by tuning in to Fox News. Shortly before Trump sent his tweet, commentator Todd Starnes had said that “President Trump should immediately issue an executive order blocking Berkeley students from receiving any federal funding. Same goes for any other public university that wants to silence conservative voices. Free speech for all or no federal money, not a single taxpayer penny, period.”
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) February 2, 2017
One-third of Berkeley undergrads receive federal Pell grants. That’s more than 9,000 students. Campus police estimated the protesters numbered about 1,500, including non-students and the vast majority of demonstrators who did not smash windows or start a fire.
“I do not believe our students were involved in the vandalism and the violent behavior that occurred,” the university’s police chief, Margo Bennet, told reporters. “This was a group of agitators who were masked up, throwing rocks, commercial-grade fireworks and Molotov cocktails at officers. Those were not our students. That’s not our students’ behavior.”
It is, of course, virtually impossible for Bennet to know for sure whether these “agitators,” many of whom wore masks, were students or not. Only one person was arrested.
What is clear, however, is that cutting off Berkeley’s federal funding would penalize thousands of innocent students.”