Conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos called himself a “catalyst” for change after President Donald Trump threatened to pull federal funding from the University of California at Berkeley over violent anti-Yiannopoulos protests on the campus.
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 at UC Berkeley as part of his book tour.
“American universities should be on notice,” Yiannopoulos told Business Insider in a text message. “The president is watching. The days you could silence conservative and libertarian voices on campus and still expect to collect their tax money are coming to an end.”
He continued: “I am the catalyst for this change. I’m confident Trump and his team are watching closely and will act decisively.”
Trump tweeted Thursday morning: “If UC Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view — NO FEDERAL FUNDS?”
Berkeley is the flagship campus of the public University of California system. It received $370 million in federal research funding in 2015-2016, according to the university’s website.
Yiannopoulos’ event was canceled after demonstrators threw smoke bombs and flares.
“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,” UC Berkeley said in a statement.
The university also condemned “in the strongest possible terms the violence and unlawful behaviour that was on display.”
Yiannopoulos has been permanently banned from Twitter for targeting “Ghostbusters” actor and “Saturday Night Live” cast member Leslie Jones. He was a prominent Trump supporter during the 2016 presidential election and held an event in support of Trump during the Republican National Convention.
Yiannopoulos’ book, “Dangerous,” is set to be released in March.
Peter Jacobs contributed to this report.
Editor’s note: Milo Yiannopoulos has previously authored columns published by Business Insider.
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