The Slatest

Schwarzenegger Compares Capitol Riot to Rise of the Nazis

Arnold Schwarzenegger smiles and makes a thumbs-up on the red carpet, with cheering fans in the background
Arnold Schwarzenegger at the Tokyo premiere of Terminator: Dark Fate in 2019. Yuichi Yamazaki/Getty Images

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger released a video Sunday morning with a deeply personal message in which he said that the violent riot that engulfed Capitol Hill last week reminded him of Kristallnacht, or the Night of the Broken Glass, the 1938 Nazi attack against Jewish homes, businesses, and synagogues. Those who carried out that attack were “the Nazi equivalent of the Proud Boys,” Schwarzenegger, who was born in Austria, said. “Wednesday was the Day of Broken Glass right here in the United States.”

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The mob that attacked Congress “did not just shatter the windows of the Capitol,” Schwarzenegger said. “They shattered the ideals we took for granted. They did not just break down the doors of the building that housed the American democracy. They trampled the very principles on which our country was founded.” The former governor then got personal and discussed a “painful memory” of growing up after World War II in Austria, where he was “surrounded by broken men drinking away the guilt over their participation in the most evil regime in history.” Schwarzenegger said his own father, who was a Nazi, “would come home drunk once or twice a week, and he would scream and hit us.” He didn’t think much of it at the time because everyone around him was doing the same thing.

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Schwarzenegger has never been shy about criticizing President Donald Trump and in the video accused him of seeking “a coup by misleading people with lies” to try to overturn an election. “And I know where such lies lead,” he added. “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.” The actor-turned-politician proceeded to end with an uplifting message, saying that “as heartbreaking as all this is, America will come back from these dark days and shine our light once again.”

In an earlier interview, Schwarzenegger had already shared some thoughts about what took place Wednesday in Washington. “I think it’s sad,” Schwarzenegger told CBS affiliate WRBL. “I think it’s the finale of four years of craziness. For four years people all of the world where I traveled people have said to me, ‘What’s going on in America? How can a man like this be elected?’ How do you explain that?”

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