Ian West/PA Images via Getty; Dan Kitwood/Getty Arnold Schwarzenegger and Donald Trump
In a new op-ed published Tuesday by The Economist, the Terminator star and former California governor slams Trump for peddling baseless conspiracy theories in an effort to maintain political power.
Schwarzenegger, 73, calls on lawmakers from both parties to denounce Trump, 74, and his efforts to reverse the 2020 results, warning of the "dire consequences" of "choosing selfishness and cynicism over service and hope."
Schwarzenegger, who grew up in Austria during the fallout from World War II, writes that the U.S. “was my first love," but now he finds himself “deeply concerned” about the direction Trump and his political allies are taking the country.
“As an immigrant, as an American and as a Republican, it is my duty to speak up,” the Golden Globe-award winning actor writes.
“I grew up in the ruins of a country that gave up on democracy and faced the consequences,” Schwarzenegger, a Republican, adds. “You may think I’m being overly sensitive about this—but when you’ve lived through the aftermath as I did, trust me, you worry.”
Mark J Terrill/AP/Shutterstock Donald Trump and Arnold Schwarzenegger together in 2016
Trump has refused to concede his election loss to President-elect Joe Biden and has cited baseless conspiracy theories in support of the false claim that the election was “rigged” and “stolen” from him.
In reality, more than 81 million American voters chose Biden, 78, to replace Trump in office.
The president has continued to claim he somehow won the election and was caught on tape last weekend demanding election officials in Georgia “find 11,780 votes,” in order to declare him the state's winner.
Around the country, the Trump campaign’s lawsuits seeking to overturn the election have been dismissed or denied by the dozens in state and federal courts — including the Supreme Court, which features three Trump-appointed Justices.
Erin Schaff - Pool/Getty President Donald Trump
“President Donald Trump’s actions to destroy faith in our elections and throw centuries of American principles out the window must be met with universal condemnation from all political leaders, regardless of party,” Schwarzenegger writes, referencing a small swell of Republican Congress members who have backed Trump’s latest push asking lawmakers to not ratify the Electoral College vote.
“There is no question about who won the presidential election,”Schwarzenegger writes, “and continuing this charade is stupid, crazy and evil.”
The two celebrities-turned-politicians used to be friends, before Schwarzenegger distanced himself from Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Previously, Trump had donated to the former body builder’s gubernatorial campaign and called him a “great friend” during an episode of The Celebrity Apprentice in 2007. Schwarzenegger then took over as host of NBC’s New Celebrity Apprentice in 2015.
One year later, he called on GOP supporters to “choose your country over your party” and vote against Trump's presidential bid.
After winning the 2016 election, Trump went on to harbor hard feelings over their fallout and criticized Schwarzenegger’s tenure as the new Apprentice host, saying the show’s “ratings went right down the tubes” and that “it’s been a total disaster” since he took over.
Schwarzenegger ultimately stepped down as the show's host in 2017, citing the “baggage” brought with Trump’s association to the program.
Now, the famed action star says, the U.S. must also distance itself from Trump.
“God bless this country and every American brave enough to stand up for it,” Schwarzenegger concludes. “God help those of you willing to throw it all away.”