Movie star and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger spoke out on Sunday about the Capitol riot, referring back to his own childhood growing up in Austria post-World War II after the rise and fall of Nazism.
He also didn’t mince words about U.S. President Donald Trump, a longtime adversary of Schwarzenegger’s and a frequent Twitter argument foe going back multiple years.
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In a seven-and-a-half-minute video posted to his social media accounts, Schwarzenegger, 73, reflected on the events of last week’s riot and compared it to experiences he had as a child and how easy it is for people to fall prey to lies and propaganda.
“I grew up in Austria, I’m very aware of Kristallnacht, or the ‘Night of Broken Glass,’” said a still-faced Schwarzenegger, referring to the event that historians believe was a prelude to the Holocaust. “It was a night of rampage against the Jews carried out in 1938 by the Nazi equivalent of the Proud Boys. Wednesday was the day of broken glass right here in the United States.”
The actor told a brief story about his own father, who was a member of the Nazi Party during the Second World War.
“I grew up in the ruins of a country that suffered the loss of its democracy,” he continued. “Growing up, I was surrounded by broken men drinking away their guilt over their participation in the most evil regime in history. I’ve never shared this publicly because it is a painful memory, but (my father) would come home drunk once or twice a week and he would scream and hit us and scare my mother.”
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Struggling with the gravity of what they’d participated in, men like his father were in both “physical pain from the shrapnel in their bodies and in emotional pain from what they saw or did.”
He then segued to Trump, accusing him of misleading the populace and stoking hate and discord with lies.
“President Trump sought to overturn the results of an election, of a fair election,” he said. “He sought a coup by misleading people with lies. My father and our neighbours were misled also with lies, and 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 said.
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To close out the video, Schwarzenegger pulled out a huge sword from his 1982 movie, Conan the Barbarian, and compared the weapon to American democracy.
“Our democracy is like the steel of this sword,” he said. “The more it is tempered, the stronger it becomes … to those who think they can overturn the United States Constitution, know this: you will never win.”
You can watch a condensed version of Schwarzenegger’s video at the top of this article.
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