The world had watched in horror last week as supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol while it was certifying Joe Biden's win. They demanded a change in the poll outcome and indulged in violence and vandalism and forced the US Congress to halt proceedings. Since then, many have laid the blame for the attacks squarely with Donald Trump, with many calling for his immediate removal from office.
On Sunday, Austrian-American actor and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger drew a parallel between the mob that swarmed the Capitol to the Nazi regime. "I grew up in Austria. 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," he says gravely in a video message posted on Twitter.
For the uninitiated, Kristallnacht was a pogrom that against Jews that saw their homes, hospitals and schools ransacked, and thousands of Jewish businesses and synagogues destroyed or damaged. Around 30,000 Jewish men were sent to concentration camps, and the eventual death toll reached several hundred.
Born two years after World War II, Schwarzenegger grew up "in the ruins of a country that suffered the loss of its democracy". Opening up about his family life at the time, the famed actor and politician reveals that he was "surrounded by broken men drinking away the guilt over their participation in the most evil regime in history."
"I have 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. I didn't hold him totally responsible because our neighbour was doing the same thing to his family and so was the next neighbour over" he reveals.
Interestingly, Schwarzenegger belongs to the same political party as Donald Trump and (presumably) the protesters. He ran for office as a Republican and was the 38th Governor of the State of California from 2003–2011. But the well known actor is certainly not on board with the recent antics of the POTUS. Coming back to the topic of the ongoing crisis in the US he accused President Trump of seeking a coup.
"President Trump sought to overturn the results of an election and of a fair election. He sought a coup by misleading people with lies," he said.