In Viral Video, Schwarzenegger Hyperlinks Capitol Riot to an Episode That Was a Prelude to Holocaust
In a video posted on Twitter on Sunday that quickly drew millions of visitors, Arnold Schwarzenegger, the movie star and former governor of California, compared the uprising at the Capitol last week to Kristallnacht, a rampage in Germany in 1938, during which Nazi-inspired mobs burned synagogues and destroyed Jewish shops.
Mr. Schwarzenegger sat at a desk and was flanked by the American and Californian flags. He combined his experiences in Austria after World War II with what he experienced in the USA.
“Being from Europe, I’ve seen firsthand how things can get out of hand,” he said, adding that while others might fear something similar might happen in the US, he didn’t think so this would happen.
“I think we need to be aware of the dire consequences of selfishness and cynicism,” he warned.
Mr. Schwarzenegger remembered growing up among men who had “drunk off their guilt for participating in the most evil regime in history.” His father, like others in the neighborhood, would return home drunk once or twice a week and “he yelled and hit us and scared my mother,” he said.
The painful memory, he said, was one he hadn’t shared so publicly before, but he chose it to underscore the “emotional pain” these men experienced from what they saw or did.
“My father and our neighbors were also misled with lies,” he said. “And I know where such lies lead.”
Mr Schwarzenegger linked the pro-Trump mob that stormed the Capitol with Kristallnacht and described the attacks against Jews more than 80 years ago carried out by “the Nazi equivalent of the Proud Boys.”
Within a few hours, the 7-minute video attracted nearly 10 million views on Twitter.
Mr. Schwarzenegger, a Republican who has long been critical of President Trump, described him in the video as a “failed leader” and “the worst president ever”. Mr. Schwarzenegger noticed former President John F. Kennedy’s book entitled “Profiles in Courage” and added that some Republicans would never see their names in such a book because he called “their own spinelessness”.
“We have to hold the people accountable who brought us to this unforgivable point,” he said.
In a call for bipartisanism, Mr. Schwarzenegger underscored the need for the nation to heal. Referring to his 1982 film Conan the Barbarian, he took a sword off his desk and said, “This is the Conan sword.” A sword is tempered and strengthened by striking it with a hammer and then heating it is cooled, he said.
“Our democracy is like the steel of this sword,” said Schwarzenegger. “The more it is tempered, the stronger it gets.”