Reich suggests ‘right-wingers’ may have been behind Berkeley protests

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich said in a CNN interview on Thursday night that he “wouldn't bet against” a theory that “right-wingers” were behind violent protests that led to the cancellation of a speaking event by Breitbart senior editor Milo Yiannopoulos. 

“I was there for part of last night, and I know what I saw. Those people were not Berkeley students. They were outside agitators,” said Reich on "CNN Tonight." “So Donald TrumpDonald TrumpGraham: 'I could not disagree more' with Trump support of Afghanistan troop withdrawal GOP believes Democrats handing them winning 2022 campaign Former GOP operative installed as NSA top lawyer resigns MORE, when he says Berkeley doesn’t respect free speech rights, that’s a complete distortion of the truth.

“There are rumors that they were right-wingers, they were part of a group that were organized and ready to create the tumult and danger you saw that forced the police to cancel the event.” 


Protests turned violent after approximately 150 masked people dressed all in black took over the protest against Yiannopoulos, who had been scheduled to speak at the campus student center Wednesday night. 

When asked if it was “a strategy by Yiannopoulos or right-wingers” by host Don Lemon, Reich said he “wouldn't bet against it.”

“I saw these people. They all looked very, almost paramilitary. They were not from the campus,” Reich said. “I don’t want to say factually, but I’ve heard there was some relationship here between these people and the right-wing movement that is affiliated with Breitbart News.”

Only one person was arrested after an estimated $100,000 worth of property damage was done to the campus, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. 

Reich served under President Clinton from 1993 to 1997 and is currently a professor of public policy at Berkeley.