The former California governor released a video message on Sunday addressing the deadly riot in which he slammed Trump supporters and “complicit” members of the Republican Party, who he said have “enabled [Trump’s] lies and his treachery” for far too long.
Schwarzenegger, who was born in Austria two years after the end of World War II, compared the Capitol siege takeover to Kristallnacht in 1938, the aftermath of which he said reverberated throughout his own childhood decades later.
“I grew up in Austria. I’m very aware of Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass. It was a night of rampage against the Jews in 1938 by the Nazi equivalent of the Proud Boys,” he explained, in the nearly eight-minute-long video.
“Wednesday was the Day of Broken Glass right here in the United States,” he continued. “The broken glass was in the windows of the United States Capitol. But the mob did not just shatter the windows of the Capitol. They shattered the ideas we took for granted. They did not just break down the doors of the building that housed American democracy; they trampled the very principles in which our nation was founded.”
My message to my fellow Americans and friends around the world following this week's attack on the Capitol. pic.twitter.com/blOy35LWJ5
— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) January 10, 2021
The “Terminator” star said the legacy of the war was “broken men” who drank their lives away over the guilt of participating in “most evil regime in history.” He specifically mentioned his father, who was a Nazi soldier and who was occasionally violent throughout his childhood.
Schwarzenegger said he drew the parallels between Kristallnacht and the Capitol riot because he believes everybody must be “aware of the dire consequences of selfishness and cynicism.”
He then turned his attention to Trump, whom he’s frequently sparred with in recent years, since replacing the president in a short-lived 2017 reboot of “The Apprentice.”
“President Trump sought to overturn the results … of a fair election. He sought a coup by misleading people with lies,” he said. “I know where such lies lead. President Trump is a failed leader. He will go down in history as the worst president ever. The good thing is he will soon be as irrelevant as an old tweet.”
Schwarzenegger went on to reproach his fellow Republicans, asserting that those who’ve stood by Trump should be held accountable.
“A number of members of my own party, because of their own spinelessness … They’re complicit with those who carried the flag of self righteous insurrection into the Capitol,” he said.
He concluded the video by wishing President-elect Joe Biden “great success” when he takes office later this month, and calling for bipartisan unity.
“We need to heal, not just as Republicans or as Democrats, but as Americans,” he said. “Now to begin this process, no matter what your political affiliation is, I ask you to join me in saying to President-elect Biden, ‘President-elect Biden, we wish you great success as our president. If you succeed, our nation succeeds. We support you with all our hearts as you seek to bring us together.’”
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