Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger shared words of hope Sunday in the aftermath of the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol, denouncing President Donald Trump and the “spinelessness” of his fellow Republicans.
Schwarzenegger drew parallels to his upbringing in post-World War II Austria while discussing Wednesday’s pro-Trump riot at the U.S. Capitol.
In a video statement released Sunday, he compared the riot in Washington to Kristallnacht — the 1938 assault by Nazis in Germany who began destroying Jewish homes, businesses and synagogues as thousands of people were rounded up to be sent to concentration camps — saying Wednesday was the “day of Broken Glass here in America.”
“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 said that as a child he knew broken men who drank away their guilt over having participated in the most “evil regime” in history, revealing that his father would often get drunk and hit him and his mother.
“President Trump sought to overturn the results of an election, and of a fair election,” Schwarzenegger said. “He sought a coup by misleading people with lies. My father and neighbors were misled also with lies.”
Trump is a failed leader who will soon become irrelevant, Schwarzenegger said. He then turned on elected officials who enabled Trump and referred to President John F. Kennedy’s book “Profiles in Courage.”
“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.”
Public officials must put country over party and work for the people, he said. He also offered his support to President-elect Joe Biden shortly before pulling out a sword from his 1982 film, “Conan the Barbarian.”
Schwarzenegger used the sword as a metaphor to offer hope to Americans after the riots, which have been tied to five deaths. He said swords get stronger after being repeatedly tempered, as steel is held in fire and then dunked in cold water over and over again.
American democracy has been tempered, he said.
“I believe as shaken as we are by the events of recent days, we will come out stronger, because we now understand what can be lost,” Schwarzenegger said. “We need reforms, of course, so that this never, ever happens again. We need to hold accountable the people that brought us to this unforgivable point. And we need to look past ourselves, our partisan disagreements and put our democracy first.”