President Donald Trump threatened early Thursday morning to yank federal funding from the University of California, Berkeley, after violence forced the school to cancel a scheduled speaking event by Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos.
Masked protestors set fires and hurled Molotov cocktails and fireworks at police, according to the university, causing property destruction and pushing school officials to cancel Yiannopoulos’ event for public safety.
“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.
But in a statement, the school said that the “masked agitators” were interrupting a peaceful protest by students and educators, and UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof told CNN that the violent protestors were part of an anarchist group in Oakland not connected to the school.
Trump also congratulated his new secretary of state Rex Tillerson Thursday morning on being confirmed by the Senate and sworn in.
“Congratulations to Rex Tillerson on being sworn in as our new Secretary of State. He will be a star!”
Tillerson, the former CEO of Exxon Mobil, was confirmed by a narrow majority in the upper chamber Wednesday.
Trump then acknowledged the death of a Navy SEAL who had died during a raid on al Qaeda militants over the weekend, in the first military raid of Trump’s presidency.
“Attending Chief Ryan Owens' Dignified Transfer yesterday with my daughter Ivanka was my great honor,” he wrote. “To a great and brave man - thank you!
Trump flew to Dover Air Base in Delaware Wednesday afternoon to be present for the arrival of the sailor’s remains. Three other service members were wounded in the raid, and more than half a dozen suspected militants were killed.
Several civilians were also killed in the firefight, including the 8-year-old daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical cleric with American citizenship who was killed by a drone strike in 2011.
On Thursday, Trump also reiterated that his administration was putting Iran “on notice” after the nation launched a ballistic missile, blaming his predecessor in part for the nuclear deal he said had given Iran a “lifeline.”
In a press briefing Wednesday, national security adviser Michael Flynn called the launch — and an attack on a Saudi warship by rebels backed by Iran — “destabilizing behavior across the Middle East.” Flynn and press secretary Sean Spicer did not specify what actions the Trump administration would be willing to take, and declined to clarify if those options included military action.