A former Clinton administration official has made a stunning claim regarding who was responsible for the riots at UC Berkeley Wednesday night that forced cancellation of a talk by Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos.
Robert Reich blames Breitbart News.
Reich was secretary of labor under Clinton and now teaches at Berkeley.
The conversation was noticed by Alex Griswold at Mediaite as well as Scott Johnson at Powerline.
CNN’s Don Lemon responded incredulously when Reich made the suggestion.
“You think this was a strategy by Yiannopoulos or right wingers?” Lemon asked. “That they put this on in an effort to show there’s no free speech on a college campus like UC Berkeley?”
Reich confirmed his suspicion.
“I wouldn’t bet against it, Don. Again, I saw these people. They all looked very – almost paramilitary. They were not from the campus. I’ve heard, I don’t want to say factually, that there was some relationship there between these people and the right wing and the right-wing movement that is affiliated with Breitbart News.”
See the exchange:
Reich explained: “I was there for part of last night, and I know what I saw and those people were not Berkeley students. Those people were outside agitators. I have never seen them before.”
He said there are “rumors that they actually were right-wingers.”
“They were a part of a kind of group that was organized and ready to create the kind of tumult and danger you saw that forced the police to cancel the event,” he said. “So Donald Trump, when he says Berkeley doesn’t respect free speech rights, that’s a complete distortion of the truth.”
Johnson wrote at Powerline that Reich “leads a sheltered life.”
“He apparently missed the wave of left-wing violence to which we have been treated in the age of Obama. He apparently missed the violence sponsored by the left during the inauguration of President Trump. Reich might want to take in the new Frontpage pamphlet by John Perazzo on Left Wing Hate Groups.”
Protests have followed the Breitbart personality’s speeches as he travels the country. At Berkeley, officials estimated the rioters caused $100,000 in damage. President Trump reacted, suggesting federal funds shouldn’t be sent to a university that doesn’t protect the First Amendment.
Talk radio host Michael Savage on Thursday aired a clip of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s 2014 commencement address at the university, suggesting she had a hand in inciting the rioters.
“Being called a disruptor is a high compliment,” Pelosi said in the speech. “You here at Berkeley are already disruptors in many ways.”
She closed with: “My wish is that you will be disruptors when necessary, and that you enjoy every moment of it.”
Savage commented: “Now you know who was behind what happened at Berkeley last night.”
The talk by Yiannopoulos was canceled after violent protesters hurled smoke bombs, broke windows and started a bonfire outside the building where he was to appear.