The actor, bodybuilder and 38th Governor of California posted the lengthy video to his social media channels earlier today. He opens by pointing out that he is an immigrant to America, having grown up in Austria and seen the lasting impact of attacks on freedom.
“I’m very aware of Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass. It was a night of rampage against the Jews carried out in 1938, by the Nazi equivalent of the Proud Boys,” Schwarzenegger explains. “Wednesday was the Day of Broken Glass right here in the United States.”
“I grew up in the ruins of a country that suffered the loss of its democracy. I was born in 1947, two years after the Second World War. Growing up, I was surrounded by broken men drinking away their guilt over their participation in the most evil regime in history.”
The Terminator star goes on to offer a personal and candid story from his youth.
“I’ve never shared this so publicly because it is a painful memory. But my father would come home drunk once or twice a week, and he would scream and hit us and scare my mother. I didn’t hold him totally responsible because our neighbour was doing the same thing to his family, and so was the next neighbour over… 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. So being from Europe, I’ve seen firsthand how things can spin out of control.”
From there, Schwarzenegger criticises outgoing US President Donald Trump for his attempts to overturn the results of last year’s federal election, in which Joe Biden was fairly declared the victor, and for facilitating the recent coup attempt by misleading and lying to people.
“President Trump is 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.”
Towards the end of the video, Arnie also wielded a huge broadsword – a prop from when he starred as the titular character in 1982’s Conan the Barbarian.
“You see this sword? This is Conan’s sword. Now, here’s the thing about swords. 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, and then plunge it into the fire and the water, and the more often you do that, the stronger it becomes. Now, I’m not telling you all this because I want you to become an expert sword maker. But our democracy is like the steel of this sword. The more it’s tempered, the stronger it becomes. Our democracy has been tempered by wars, injustices, and insurrections. I believe, as shaken as we are about the events of recent days, we will come out stronger because we now understand what can be lost.”
Last week, it was revealed that a number of musicians had taken part in the riots at Capitol, including indie artists Ariel Pink and John Maus, with the former dropped from his record label as a result. Iced Earth guitarist Jon Schaffer was also photographed at the riots – with his bandmates going on to condemn the violence that took place.
Watch Schwarzenegger’s video below.