Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger spoke out against last week’s attack on the US Capitol, comparing the event to Crystalnacht, “Night of Broken Glass” in Nazi Germany in 1938. “Broken glass was the windows of the US Capitol,” Schwarzenegger said. a nearly eight-minute video posted on Twitter on Sunday.
“But the crowd didn’t just smash the windows of the Capitol, they smashed the ideas we took for granted. They didn’t just smash the doors of the building that housed American democracy,” Schwarzenegger said. “They trampled on the very principles on which our country was founded.”
Crystalnacht was a brutal anti-Semitic attack by Nazi sympathizers who destroyed synagogues, schools and Jewish businesses. This led to the deaths of 91 Jews, while thousands more were sent to concentration camps. Nazi authorities blamed the Jews for the attack and fined the German Jewish community one billion Reichsmarks, or about $ 400 million, according to the American Holocaust Memorial Museum.
“It was a night of rage against the Jews, committed 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 impact of the war on his father and others, whom he described as “broken men who drink their guilt by participating in the worst regime in history”.
“Not all of them were fierce anti-Semites or Nazis. Many of them just went step by step down the road. They were the people next door,” Schwarzenegger said. He told of his father, who he said sometimes went home drunk and beat Schwarzenegger and his siblings, apparently guilty of his involvement in World War II.
“They felt physical pain from the shrapnel in their bodies and emotional pain from what they saw or did. It all started with lies, lies, lies and intolerance,” Schwarzenegger said. “And because I was from Europe, I saw first hand how things could get out of hand.”
“President Trump has tried to overturn election results and fair elections. He has tried to carry out a coup by misleading people with lies,” the Terminator star said. “My father and our neighbors have also been deceived by lies, and I know where such lies lead. President Trump is a failed leader.”
Schwarzenegger, a Republican himself, often speaks out against Mr. Trump. This time, in his address, he also struck his fellow Republicans, who he said were “accomplices with those who carry the flag of the self-righteous uprising in the Capitol.”
He said Trump would be remembered as the worst president in the United States and would soon “be as irrelevant as an old tweet.” However, Schwarzenegger ended his remarks on a high note.
“Our democracy has been softened by wars, injustices and uprisings. I believe, no matter how shaken we are by the events of 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 invaded the Capitol: “For those who think they can repeal the United States constitution, know this: You will never win.”