Terminator actor and former governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a chilling warning on Sunday, comparing this week’s insurrection at the Capitol to a violent turning point in the early days of Nazi Germany.
The Austrian-born Schwarzenegger spoke about Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass, an attack on Jewish people that destroyed thousands of businesses, homes, and synagogues, and resulted in the deaths of hundreds of people — which would escalate to the murder of 6 million in the Holocaust.
“It was a night of rampage against the Jews carried out in 1938 by the Nazi equivalent of the Proud Boys,” said Schwarzenegger in a video released Sunday. “Wednesday was the Day of Broken Glass here in the United States. The broken glass was in the windows of the United States Capitol.”
In his viral speech Sunday, Schwarzenegger also opened up about his childhood, explaining that he’d been born two years after World War II ended. Growing up in the aftermath meant experiencing his father’s drunken, violent attacks spurred in part from the trauma at his own role in racist history, Schwarzenegger said.
The abuse in his family was not unusual, he added.
“I did not hold him totally responsible because our neighbor was doing the same thing to his family,” said Schwarzenegger, calling the experience a “painful memory.”
“Not all of them were rapid anti-Semites or Nazis. Many just went along, step by step, down the road,” he said. “They were the people next door.”
The Republican compared the rise of Nazi Germany to the attempted coup this week and blamed President Donald Trump, noting that in both eras, leaders’ lies instigated violence.
“It all started with lies, and lies, and lies, and intolerance,” Schwarzenegger said. “President Trump sought to overturn the results of an election, and of a fair election. He sought a coup by misleading people with lies. My father and our neighbors were also misled by lies, and I know where such lies lead.”
Schwarzenegger has long been critical of Trump. He also replaced the president as the host of Celebrity Apprentice in 2017.
“President Trump is a failed leader. He will go down in history as the worst president ever,” said the former governor. “The good thing is that he will soon be as irrelevant as an old tweet.”
Schwarzenegger also said that other Republicans — although he did not mention any of them by name — have “enabled [Trump’s] lies and his treachery.”
“They’re complicit with those who carried the flag of self-righteous insurrection into the Capitol,” he said.
And in true Schwarzenegger form, the former action star also pulled out a sword from when he played Conan the Barbarian in the 1982 film. The steel of a sword becomes stronger the more it is tempered with heat and fire, he said.
“Our democracy is like the steel of this sword, the more it is tempered, the stronger it becomes,” said Schwarzenegger.