This week millions of Americans watched in horror as a violent riot overtook the U.S Capitol moments after Donald Trump encouraged his supporters to fight against his presidential bid loss. The attack left multiple people dead, and Congressmen and Senators — not to mention so many of us — shook by the experience. On Instagram, former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger shared a powerful video in response to the domestic terrorist attack and recounted his own childhood in Austria. His moving words call out the president for his involvement and inciting words, as well as the Republican politicians who stood by Trump’s false claims of a stolen election.
“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,” Schwarzenegger said in the clip.
The powerful video, with Schwarzenegger looking and speaking directly into the camera, is nearly eight minutes long. Schwarzenegger begins by remembering Kristallnacht, also known as the Night of Broken Glass, in which a mob of Nazis destroyed Jewish neighborhoods and homes in 1938. He then compared that treacherous night that left dozens of people dead to the actions of Trump’s supporters.
“Wednesday was the day of broken glass right here in the United States,” Schwarzenegger says. “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 ideals 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.”
He continued, “Growing up, I was surrounded by broken men drinking away their guilt with their participation in the most evil regime in history. Not all of them were rabid anti-Semites or Nazis. Many just went along step-by-step down the road. They were the people next door.”
Schwarzenegger then goes on to share what he calls “a painful memory” from his childhood that he hasn’t shared publicly — until now. “…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 neighbor was doing the same thing to his family, and so was the next neighbor over,” he recounts. “I heard it with my own ears and saw it with my own eyes.” The men, he says, were in physical pain, but also emotional pain “from what they saw and did.”
“My father and our neighbors were misled also with lies. And I know where such lies lead,” he continued. “President Trump is a failed leader. He will go down in history as the worst president ever.”
He ended his video by congratulating President-elect Joe Biden and saying, “To those who think they can overturn the United States Constitution, know this: You will never win.”
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