The Austrian-born politician likened Wednesday’s events to attacks on Jews during Kristallnacht, calling it America’s ‘Night of Broken Glass’
The former actor was born after the events of 1938, but said the trauma from the collapse of democracy had shaped his childhood
Arnold Schwarzenegger likened the siege of the US Capitol to Nazi attacks on Jews in Europe ahead of World War II, in a scathing video in which the former California governor also called President Donald Trump “the worst president ever”.
In a separate interview, the former actor also offered his trademark parting message to Trump: “You are terminated, Mr President,” Schwarzenegger told a German newspaper.
Schwarzenegger was not yet alive when Nazis rampaged through Germany and Austria during Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass, in 1938, attacking Jewish homes and businesses and taking thousands to concentration camps. He was born in Austria two years after World War II ended.
But the trauma inflicted by the violent collapse of democracy – and the complicity of some of those close to him – shaped his childhood, he said in the video released via Twitter on Sunday.
“Growing up, I was surrounded by broken men drinking away their guilt over their participation in the most evil regime in history,” he said. “Not all of them were rabid anti-Semites or Nazis. Many just went along step by step down the road.”
Schwarzenegger said that his father would often come home drunk and hit him and other family members, which did not seem remarkable because their neighbour was doing the same thing.
“They were in physical pain from the shrapnel in their bodies and in emotional pain from what they saw or did,” he said. “It all started with lies, and lies, and lies, and intolerance.”
Similarly, he said, Trump misled his supporters with lies as he sought a coup to overturn the results of the presidential election. “Wednesday was the Day of Broken Glass right here in the United States,” Schwarzenegger said.
Schwarzenegger went on to decry Trump as “a failed leader” and said that those politicians who stood behind him are “complicit with those who carried the flag of self-righteous insurrection into the Capitol”.
He called for elected representatives and citizens to look past their political parties and personal disagreements, put democracy first and work together towards healing by accepting Joe Biden as president-elect and wishing him success.
“And to those who think they can overturn the United States Constitution, know this: you will never win,” he said.
Schwarzenegger, who rose to fame as an actor, recalled a catchphrase from the Terminator films when he told Germany’s
: “You are terminated, Mr President.”
He also told the newspaper that the scenes from the Capitol saddened him.
“That’s not our America. That’s not my America,” he said.
Schwarzenegger, who took over hosting duties for Trump on
when Trump ran for office, has traded jabs with the president for years.
As Schwarzenegger departed the show in 2017, he blamed Trump’s association for its low ratings and Trump shot back that Schwarzenegger had actually been fired.
More recently, Schwarzenegger has also been critical of Trump’s stance on climate change and the divisive nature of his political brand.