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President Takes to Twitter to Defend Hate Speech

Milo Yiannopoulos

Trump adviser Steve Bannon is a close ally of Milo Yiannopoulos.

President Trump threatened to take away federal funds from the University of California, Berkeley, after protests turned violent Wednesday evening on the campus, where Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos was scheduled to give a talk.

The Breitbart editor's talk was canceled by the school because of the violence. At least six people were hurt, reportsCNN. Protests against the alt-right writer have turned violent before. On January 20 in Seattle, a man was shot.

Though Trump threatened to deprive UC Berkeley of federal funds, U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee of California quickly corrected the president on his favorite platform, Twitter. "Pres. Trump doesn't have a license to blackmail universities. He's the president, not a dictator, & his empty threats are an abuse of power," wrote the congresswoman.

In her statement, the congresswoman condemned the violence that took place at the protest, but also noted that Yiannopoulos "has made a career of inflaming racist, sexist and nativist sentiments."

The Breitbart editor, who is banned from Twitter because of hate speech, defended himself via Facebook, writing, "American universities are on notice. 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. I am the catalyst for this change."

Jonah Goldberg, a conservative National Review writer, told Fox News, "I think Milo is on cloud nine. He courts this kind of stuff. He feeds on it. He gets much more national exposure. He's a parasitic relationship with these mobs. I'm sure he's just delighted by all of it."

Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin spoke out against Yiannopoulos. "Using speech to silence marginalized communities and promote bigotry is unacceptable," he wrote. "Hate speech isn't welcome in our community."

This comes a day after a draft of an anti-LGBT "religious freedom" executive order was leaked to the media. Trump was expected to announce the order Thursday at the National Prayer Breakfast, but he did not. Instead he vowed to protect "religious freedom" with a larger role for churches in politics.

Tony Perkins, the head of Family Research Council, an organization the progressive Southern Poverty Law Center dubs a "hate group," told Fox News that there's no doubt he believes Trump will sign an order to defend "religious freedom."

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