The Austrian-born movie star and former California governor, himself a Republican, compared the riot at the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters angered by the election results to the Kristallnacht, “the Night of Broken Glass” in 1938 when Nazis destroyed Jewish businesses, homes and synagogues at the start of the Holocaust.
“The mob did not just shatter the windows of the Capitol, they shattered the ideas we took for granted,” a scruffily bearded Schwarzenegger says in the nearly eight-minute video, shot in his office in front of U.S. and California state flags, with music swelling dramatically behind his words.
“President Trump sought to overturn the results of an election, and of a fair election. He sought a coup by misleading people with lies … I know where such lies lead,” he said in a reference to his own father’s past as a member of the Nazi party.
He went on to describe Trump as “a failed leader. He will go down in history as the worst president ever. The good thing is he will soon be as irrelevant as an old tweet.”
He also slammed elected Republicans who were “complicit with those who carried the flag of self-righteous insurrection into the Capitol,” adding, “We need public servants that serve something larger than their own power or their own party.”
The speech ended with a flourish, when the star held up a sword on his desk, which he referred to as Conan’s sword, as a metaphor for democracy.
“The more you temper a sword, the stronger it becomes. The more you pound it with a hammer and then heat it in the fire, and then thrust it into the cold water, and then pound it again … the more often you do that the stronger it becomes.
“Our democracy is like the steel of this sword. The more it is tempered, the stronger it becomes. Our democracy has been tempered by wars, injustices and insurrections. … We will come out stronger because we now understand what can be lost.”
He closed by pledging his support for President-elect Joe Biden: “If you succeed, our nation succeeds. We support you with all our hearts as you seek to bring us together.”
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