(CNN) Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger spoke out Wednesday against anti-Semitism and hate, pointing to his family history in the hope it will serve as an example to others.
“My father, and so many millions of other men, were sucked into a system of hate through lies and deceit. And we’ve seen where that leads,” Schwarzenegger told CNN’s Dana Bash in an exclusive interview, having earlier told him on a forum at the University of Southern California that he was “born with a father who was a Nazi.”
“I have seen firsthand how broken this man was,” he continued. “The kind of atrocities that happened. How many millions of people had to die and then end up losers…in the Confederacy, losers, as they all have, this just doesn’t work. Come on and get along. And love is more powerful than hate.
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The actor, who was born in Austria in 1947 and moved to the United States in 1968, has been outspoken about his father, Gustav Schwarzenegger’s involvement with the Nazi party during World War II. In a video message posted in March, he referred to his father in denouncing hate speech and urged those who follow “the easy path of hate” to “choose a life of strength” and “fight the war against one same”.
Schwarzenegger’s comments come against a backdrop of rising levels of anti-Semitism and rising hate crimes in the United States. A report released by the Anti-Defamation League last month revealed that anti-Semitic incidents in the US have reached their highest level since the organization began tracking them in 1979. Data released by the FBI in March shows the number of motivated crimes by the hatred reported in the US also increased in 2021.
Schwarzenegger told Bash on the forum that he did not know the reason behind the rise in anti-Semitic hatred and violence, but said: “I think we have to find a way to mitigate it.”
“I think it’s very clear that the more liberal we are on social issues, the angrier the other side gets, and there’s more and more hate in general,” he said. “There are people who created the insurrection who went absolutely crazy in Washington on January 6th. There are a lot of angry people. Not just angry about whites against blacks, or people against Jews and all that, but angry in general.”
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Asked if he was concerned that former President Donald Trump would be the likely favorite for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, Schwarzenegger told Bash “not at all” and that he didn’t think the former president could win another term.
Trump is bidding to become the second commander in chief elected to two non-consecutive terms. His candidacy comes despite being recently charged with corporate fraud in New York and under investigation for his actions as president, including a sweeping criminal investigation by the Justice Department into efforts by Trump and his allies to block a peaceful transition. from power on January 6, 2021.
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However, at this point, he remains the clear Republican favorite, leading his rivals by double digits.
“Being a party favorite and letting them dig this hole ever deeper is going to make it easier for the Democrats to win,” Schwarzenegger told Bash. “It’s sad to see that. That they haven’t been able to introduce a new talent, with a new face who is a reasonable, smart, intelligent person who can lead this country in a Republican way.”
Following the January 6 insurrection, the former governor released a video in which he compared the riots to Kristallnacht, also known as the Night of Broken Glass, an outbreak of violence by the Nazi regime against Jewish communities, synagogues and businesses in Germany and Austria in 1938.
“The first thing that came to my mind when I saw the insurrection was that it was dangerous and that that day we were very, very close to losing our democracy and that this could be the beginning of something similar to what Kristallnacht was and that we all must be aware of it,” Schwarzenegger told Bash on Wednesday.
“If we look at history, we learn from the past so we don’t repeat it again… it’s a wake-up call for people to know that they have to take this seriously. And not just like, ‘Oh, let’s go after those right-wingers. Let’s put them in jail’, and all that. No. This is much more than that.”
The CNN Wire
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