Arnold Schwarzenegger is criticizing President Donald Trump after the Capitol riots. The 73-year-old former governor of California released a video on Sunday slamming both Trump and those who’ve supported him after supporters of the president violently stormed the Capitol.
Before he spoke about Trump, though, Schwarzenegger, a republican, thought back on his childhood in Austria, a country that “suffered the loss of its democracy.”
“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 carried out in 1938 by the Nazi equivalent of the Proud Boys,” he said. “Wednesday was the Day of Broken Glass right here in the United States.”
“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,” he continued. “They did not just break down the doors of the building that housed American democracy. They trampled the very principles on which our country was founded.”
Schwarzenegger was born two years after World War II and witnessed “broken men drinking away the guilt over their participation in the most evil regime in history.” What Schwarzenegger saw as a child, he said, “started with lies, and lies, and lies, and intolerance.”
“So being from Europe, I’ve seen firsthand how things can spin out of control. 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 we must be aware of the dire consequences of selfishness and cynicism.”
Schwarzenegger next turned his attention to the president.
“President Trump sought to overturn the results of an election and 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.”
He went on to criticize the individuals who “enabled [Trump’s] lies and his treachery.”
“John F. Kennedy wrote a book called 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,” he said. “They’re complicit with those who carried the flag of self-righteous insurrection into the Capitol.”
Schwarzenegger next celebrated the “great display of democracy” that came when President-elect Joe Biden was certified as the winner of the election, before encouraging politicians to develop “a public servant’s heart.”
“We need public servants that serve something larger than their own power or their own party,” he said. “We need public servants who will serve higher ideals, the ideals in which this country was founded, the ideals that other countries look up to.”
Despite the recent “heartbreaking” events, Schwarzenegger said he believes that “America will come back from these dark days and shine our light once again.”
“Our democracy has been tempered by wars, injustices and insurrections. I believe, as shaken as we all are about the events of recent days, we will come out stronger because we now understand what can be lost,” he 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 parties, and disagreements, and put our democracy first.”
Schwarzenegger concluded by speaking about the need to heal and to wish President-elect Biden well when he’s inaugurated.
“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.'”
“And to those who think they can overturn the United States Constitution, know this: You will never win,” Schwarzenegger added. “President-elect Biden, we stand with you today, tomorrow, and forever in defense of our democracy from those who would threaten it.”
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