Addressing Americans and viewers around the world, Schwarzenegger says he is speaking as an immigrant to the U.S., comparing the infamous Day of Broken Glass in Nazi Germany in 1938, when paramilitary forces and German citizens committed violence against Jews across the country, with the riot at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. He explicitly compares right-wing group the Proud Boys to the Nazis.
"Wednesday was the Day of Broken Glass right here in the United States," he says, "but the mob did not just shatter the windows of the Capitol, they shattered the ideals we took for granted."
Getting deeply personal, Schwarzenegger relates his youth in Austria "surrounded by broken men drinking away their guilt over 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."
"Now, I've never shared this so publicly because it is a painful memory," he goes on, "but my father would come home drunk once or twice a week, and he would scream and hit us, and he would 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... They were in physical pain from the shrapnel in their bodies, and in emotional pain from what they saw or did."
Schwarzenegger chalks it up to "lies and lies and lies — and intolerance" before saying he does not believe the same fate awaits the U.S. He does, however, explicitly blame Trump for pushing the country to the brink because he "sought to overturn the results of an election, and of a fair election. He sought a coup by misleading people with lies."
The action hero takes a swipe at Trump's expulsion from Twitter, noting, "The good thing is that he soon will be as irrelevant as an old tweet."
Quoting Presidents Teddy Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy, the moderate Republican then trashes the "spinelessness" of many in his own party, branding them as "complicit" in attempted insurrection.
Raising the sword he used in his "Conan the Barbarian" movies, Schwarzenegger proclaims, "The more you temper a sword, the stronger it becomes... Our democracy is like the steel of this sword."
He closes his seven-and-a-half-minute speech by asking everyone to join him in saying, "President-elect Biden, we wish you great success as our president. If you succeed, our nation succeeds. We support you with all our hearts as you seek to bring us together."
Watch the whole, extraordinary statement:
My message to my fellow Americans and friends around the world following this week's attack on the Capitol. pic.twitter.com/blOy35LWJ5