Actor and former Republican California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger offered a scathing rebuke Sunday of President Donald Trump, who stoked supporters at a demonstration Wednesday who later rioted at the U.S. Capitol.
Schwarzenegger called Trump a “failed leader” who will be remembered as “the worst president ever” before pulling out the sword featured in “Conan the Barbarian” to use as a metaphor for American democracy in a nearly eight-minute video shared on social media.
“I know there is a fear in this country and all over the world that something like this could happen right here,” he said. “Now, I do not believe it is. But I do believe that we must be aware of the dire consequences of selfishness and cynicism. President Trump sought to overturn the results of an election, and of a fair election. He sought a coup by misleading people with lies. My father and our neighbors were misled also with lies, and I know where such lies lead.”
Schwarzenegger, who was born in Austria in 1947 after World War II, compared the riot to Kristallnacht, the “Night of Broken Glass,” in which Nazi-backed supporters attacked Jewish-owned businesses, homes and synagogues in 1938.
“The broken glass was in the windows of the United States Capitol,” Schwarzenegger said. “But the mob did not just shatter the windows of the Capitol; they shattered the ideas we took for granted. They didn’t just break down the doors of the building that housed American democracy. They trampled the very principles on which our country was founded.”
Schwarzenegger referenced John F. Kennedy’s book “Profiles of Courage” to call out other members of the Republican Party who have supported the president’s baseless claims of election fraud.
“A number of members of my own party, because of their own spinelessness, would never see their names in such a book, I guarantee you,” Schwarzenegger said. “They’re complicit with those who carried the flag of self-righteous insurrection into the Capitol.”
Schwarzenegger said he supported President-elect Joe Biden and then pulled out the sword featured in the movie “Conan the Barbarian,” comparing the heating and cooling of the tempered steel to American democracy.
“Our democracy is like the steel of this sword. The more it is tempered, the stronger it becomes,” he said. “Our democracy has been tempered by wars, injustices and insurrections. I believe, as shaken as we are about the events of recent days, we will come out stronger because we now understand what can be lost.”