Arnold Schwarzenegger spoke out Sunday on the deadly US Capitol riot carried out by supporters of President Trump, likening it to the infamous Kristallnacht pogrom — but offering hope that it, like so many hardships before, would only make America stronger.
The Hollywood star and former Republican governor of California opened a nearly eight-minute Twitter video by recounting his childhood in the shadow of World War II.
“I grew up in Austria. I am very aware of Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass” said Schwarzenegger, 73. “It was a night of rampage against the Jews carried out in 1938 by the Nazi equivalent of the Proud Boys.
“Wednesday was the Day of Broken Glass right here in the United States,” he continued. “The broken glass was in the windows of the United States Capitol. But the mob did not just shatter the windows of the Capitol; they shattered the ideals we took for granted.”
The storming of the Capitol on Wednesday shortly followed a rally-style speech in which Trump urged his supporters to “fight like hell” against the certification of the 2020 presidential election results in favor of political rival Joe Biden, unfolding at the time in Congress.
Schwarzenegger — who also succeeded Trump as the host of NBC reality competition show “The Apprentice” — weighed in on Republican lawmakers who backed the president in voting to overturn the election results, even after the riot.
“I will remind them of what Teddy Roosevelt said: ‘Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president,’” said Schwarzenegger. “They are complicit with those who carried the flag of self-righteous insurrection into the Capitol.”
Despite the horror of the riot and its aftermath, Schwarzenegger concluded the video on an optimistic note, vowing that American democracy would weather the storm.
“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 lights once again,” he said, a score worthy of a Hollywood blockbuster swelling beneath his voice.
To illustrate the point, Schwarzenegger held aloft the blade from his 1982 sword-and-sorcery epic “Conan the Barbarian.”
“The more you temper a sword, the stronger it becomes,” he said. “Our democracy is like the steel of this sword. The more it is tempered, the stronger it becomes.”
Schwarzenegger called on Americans of all political affiliations to cast aside partisanship and come together for the good of the country.
“I believe, as shaken as we are by the events of recent days, we will come out stronger because we now understand what can be lost,” he said. “We need to heal, together, from the trauma of what has just happened.
“We need to heal, not as Republicans or as Democrats, but as Americans.”