Arnold Schwarzenegger likens Capitol riot to Kristallnacht in rebuke of Trump

Mob attack showcases Capitol security failures

(Gray News) - Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Sunday delivered a scathing rebuke to President Donald Trump over Wednesday’s storming of the U.S. Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters.

The longtime Republican and iconic film actor compared the event to the pogrom against Jews known as Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass, in Germany and Austria in 1938.

“I grew up in Austria,” Schwarzenegger says in the video message posted to Twitter. “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.

“Wednesday was the Day of Broken Glass right here in the United States. 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 ideas we took for granted. They did not just break down the doors of the building that housed American democracy. They trampled the very principles on which our country was founded.”

Schwarzenegger speaks about his father, who was a member of the Nazi Party during World War II, whom Schwarzenegger describes as a man broken by “lies and intolerance.”

“Now, 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,” he said.

“I didn’t hold him totally responsible, because our neighbor was doing the same thing to his family, and so was the next neighbor over. I heard it with my own ears and saw it with my own eyes. They were in physical pain from the shrapnel in their bodies, and in emotional pain from what they saw and did.”

Schwarzenegger then blasts Trump for seeking “a coup by misleading people with lies.”

He calls Trump “a failed leader” who “will go down in history as the worst president ever.”

He attacks the “spinelessness” of the Republicans who’ve gone along with Trump’s efforts to undermine the electoral system.

He goes on to praise the House and Senate for proceeding with their business after the Capitol riot by formalizing President-elect Joe Biden’s win, which he calls “a great display of democracy.”

Toward the end of the video, he holds up what he calls “the Conan sword,” referring to his 1982 film “Conan the Barbarian,” saying “our democracy is like the steel of this sword. The more it is tempered, the stronger it becomes.”

Schwarzenegger concludes the video with a call for unity among the American people under the incoming Biden administration.

“We need to heal, together, from the drama of what has just happened,” he said. “We need to heal, not as Republicans or as Democrats, but as Americans.”

On Wednesday, a violent mob of Trump supporters overpowered police, broke through security lines and windows and rampaged through the Capitol, forcing lawmakers to scatter as they were putting the final, formal touches on Biden’s victory over Trump in the Electoral College.

The crowd surged to the domed symbol of American democracy following a rally near the White House, where Trump repeated his bogus claims that the election was stolen from him and urged his supporters to march in force toward the Capitol.

A Capitol Police officer died after he was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher as rioters descended on the building and many other officers were injured. A woman from California was shot to death by Capitol Police and three other people died after medical emergencies during the chaos.

Outrage over the attack and Trump’s role in egging it on capped a divisive, chaotic presidency like few others in the nation’s history.

Trump has few fellow Republicans speaking out in his defense, and the White House declined to comment on GOP calls for resignation. He’s become increasingly isolated, holed up in the White House as he has been abandoned in the aftermath of the riot by many aides, leading Republicans and, so far, two Cabinet members.

Copyright 2021 Gray Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.