As angry mobs harass visitors on Berkeley campus, President Trump warns of repercussions

from "Trump threatens U.C. Berkeley after protests stop far-right speech," Sharon Bernstein and David Ingram, Reuters

U.S. President Donald Trump threatened on Thursday to cut funding to the University of California at Berkeley after protesters smashed windows and set fires at the school, forcing the cancellation of an appearance by a far-right Breitbart News editor.

Trump's threat in a tweet provoked a response from California lawmakers, who in discussions on the floor of the state senate called it distasteful and an abuse of power, marking the latest clash between the Republican president and officials in the Democratic-majority state.

"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 on Twitter at 6:13 a.m. EST (1113 GMT).

It was not immediately clear what action Trump could take without authorization from Congress, or without risking legal action.

In California, a mostly Democratic state where lawmakers have already begun preparing legislation to combat Trump's policies on immigration and climate change, the response was swift.

"To have the man at the helm of the most powerful nation of the world tweeting and threatening the University of California and talking about withholding funds, that’s unique and I find that very distasteful," said Senate leader Kevin de Leon, a Los Angeles Democrat.

Lawmakers said they would look into whether President Trump could actually take funds from the university which receives $400 to $450 million in funding for research annually. In 2016, the university also received $216 million in federal student aid, a legislative official said (more).

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