LOS ANGELES: Former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger compared the mob that stormed the United States Capitol to the Nazis and called President Donald Trump a failed leader who “will go down in history as the worst president ever”.
In a video he released on social media on Sunday (Jan 10), the Republican said: "Wednesday was the Night of Broken Glass right here in the United States."
In 1938, Nazis in Germany and Austria vandalised Jewish homes, schools and businesses during an attack that became known as Kristallnacht or "the Night of Broken Glass".
“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," he said. "They trampled the very principles on which our country was founded.”
Schwarzenegger, who was born in Austria, compared the Proud Boys - a far-right American extremist group - to the Nazis. Some Proud Boys leaders were arrested in the nation’s capital, before and after Wednesday’s riots.
“President Trump sought to overturn the results of the election - and of a fair election," Schwarzenegger said in the video. "He sought a coup by misleading people with lies.”
Schwarzenegger called Trump a failed leader and said he took solace in the fact that Trump’s presidency was coming to an end and “would soon be as irrelevant as an old tweet”.
He called for national unity and vowed his support for President-elect Joe Biden after mobs loyal to Trump broke into the US Capitol, causing a temporary suspension of the electoral count. Members of Congress later returned and certified the results.
Five people died, including a Capitol police officer. Scores of rioters have been arrested and many more are being sought after the brazen attack.
“And to those who think they can overturn the United States Constitution, know this: You will never win,” Schwarzenegger said.
During the video, which runs for more than seven and a half minutes, Schwarzenegger likened American democracy to the sword he brandished in his early role as Conan the Barbarian, which he said only grows stronger when it is tempered.
Schwarzenegger, best known for his movie role as the Terminator, was elected as California's governor in 2003 during a special recall election. He was later elected to a full term.
“I believe, as shaken as we are about the events of recent days, we will come out stronger because we now understand what can be lost,” he said, adding that those behind Wednesday's riots - and those that fomented them - will be held accountable.