Schwarzenegger compares Capitol attack to Nazi pogrom
Los Angeles, California - In an emotional video posted to Twitter on Sunday, Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger had a lot to say about the events of January 6, 2021.
On January 5, the Austrian-born actor, who emigrated to the US when he was 21, caused an uproar with an op-ed in the Economist he wrote by invitation. In the article, he compared Donald Trump's anti-democratic actions to the conditions that led to the rise of the Nazis.
On Sunday, he spoke out again on Twitter and addressed the current situation since the riots at the Capitol.
The title of his tweet read: "My message to my fellow Americans and friends around the world following this week's attack on the Capitol." In the video, he sits at a desk with the US and California state flags behind him. Dramatic music accompanies his speech.
As he did in the Economist article, the actor, who was born in 1947, recounts growing up in the aftermath of World War II in Austria.
Schwarzenegger compared the riots at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, to the Nazi violence that occurred from November 9-10, 1938, in Germany. During "Kristallnacht," or the "Night of Broken Glass," the windows of Jewish-owned stores, buildings, and synagogues were smashed by "the Nazi equivalent of the Proud Boys," Schwarzenegger explains.
"President Trump is a failed leader"
"Wednesday was the Day of Broken Glass right here in the United
States. The broken glass was in the windows of the United States
But the mob didn't just break the windows of the Capitol, he said. It also trampled on the principles upon which America was founded.
The actor testified to the Nazi atrocities and described growing up with people broken by guilt for their role in the terrible regime. "Not all of them were rabid anti-Semites or Nazis. Many simply went along, step by step, down the road." He continued to say that the way down that path was paved by lies upon lies.
Schwarzenegger strongly condemns the actions of President Trump, especially his attempts to overturn a fair election with a smear campaign. He says that President Donald Trump is the main culprit for the "coup attempt" and will almost certainly "go down in history as the worst president ever."
Despite his disappointment with the current political situation, the former governor of California still has pride in American democracy: "Our democracy held firm. Within hours the Senate and the House of Representatives were doing the people's business and certifying the election of President-elect Biden."
"What a great display of democracy."
Schwarzenegger has hope: the US "will shine our light once again"
Schwarzenegger understands people's worries and says he received calls from friends around the world expressing despair and concern following the attack.
Nevertheless, he offers a message of hope: "Now I've told everyone who has called that, as heartbreaking as all this is, America will come back from these dark days and shine our light once again."
To that end, he compared the country's democracy to a sword: "The more you temper a sword, the stronger it becomes." He said the same applied to democracy.
"The more you pound it with a hammer ... the stronger it becomes. I believe, as shaken as we are about the events of recent days, we will come out stronger because we now understand what can be lost."
It's clear to Schwarzenegger that reforms are needed to prevent a similar event from ever happening again and that the people who pushed America to this perilous point need to be held accountable: "We need to ... put our democracy first."
Cover photo: imago images / ZUMA Wire