Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger spoke out against last week’s assault on the U.S. Capitol, comparing the event to Kristallnacht, the “Night of Broken Glass” in Nazi Germany in 1938. “The broken glass was the windows of the United States Capitol,” Schwarzenegger said in a nearly eight-minute long video posted to Twitter on Sunday.
“But the mob did not just shatter the windows of the Capitol, they shattered the ideas we took for granted. They did not just break down the doors of the building that housed American democracy,” Schwarzenegger said. “They trampled the very principles on which our country was founded.”
Kristallnacht was a violent anti-Semitic attack carried out by Nazi sympathizers who destroyed synagogues, schools, and Jewish-owned businesses. It led to the deaths of 91 Jews, while thousands of others were sent to concentration camps. Nazi officials blamed Jews for the attack and fined the German Jewish community one billion Reichsmarks, or approximately $400 million, according to the U.S Holocaust Memorial Museum.
“It was a night of rampage against the Jews carried out in 1938 by the Nazi equivalent of the Proud Boys,” Schwarzenegger explained. The actor was born in Austria in 1947, just two years after the end of World War II. He recalled the war’s impact on his father and others, whom he described as “broken men drinking away their guilt with their participation in the most evil regime in history.”
“Not all of them were rabid anti-Semites or Nazis. Many just went along step by step down the road. They were the people next door,” Schwarzenegger said. He opened up about his father, who he said would sometimes come home drunk and beat Schwarzenegger and his siblings, apparently wracked with guilt over his participation in World War II.
“They were in physical pain from the shrapnel in their bodies and in emotional pain from what they saw or did. It all started with lies, and lies, and lies, and intolerance,” Schwarzenegger said. “So being from Europe, I’ve seen firsthand how things can spin out of control.”
“President Trump sought to overturn the results of an election and of a fair election. He sought a coup by misleading people with lies,” the “Terminator” star said. “My father and our neighbors were also misled with lies, and I know where such lies lead. President Trump is a failed leader.”
Schwarzenegger, a Republican himself, has frequently spoken out against Mr. Trump. This time in his address, he also slammed fellow Republicans he accused of being “complicit with those who carried the flag of self-righteous insurrection into the Capitol.”
He said Trump will be remembered as the United States’ worst president and will soon “be as irrelevant as an old tweet.” Schwarzenegger ended his remarks on a high note, however.
“Our democracy has been tempered by wars, injustices and insurrections. I believe, as shaken as we are about the events of the recent days, we will come out stronger because we now understand what can be lost,” he said.
He also had a message for those who attacked the Capitol: “To those who think they can overturn the United States Constitution, know this: You will never win.”