Arnold Schwarzenegger counts himself among those who were deeply disappointed by President Trump’s statement that “both sides” were to blame for the violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville. And in a new video, the former Republican governor of California offers a pointed suggestion for what Trump should have said instead.
“The only way to beat the loud and angry voices of hate is to meet them with louder and more reasonable voices. And that includes you, President Trump,” Schwarzenegger says in the video, posted to ATTN’s Facebook page Thursday. “In fact, as president of this great country, you have a moral responsibility to send an unequivocal message that you don’t stand for hate and racism.”
Schwarzenegger then offers an example of what that message might sound like: “‘As President of the United States, and as a Republican, I reject the support of white supremacists,'” he says. “‘The country that defeated Hitler’s armies is no place for Nazi flags. The party of Lincoln won’t stand with those who carry the battle flags of the failed Confederacy.’”
Trump drew widespread criticism for his response to the deadly chaos in Charlottesville, where a car driven by a reported white nationalist plowed into a crowd, killing 32-year-old counterprotester Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others.
“What about the alt-left that came charging at the — as you say, the alt-right?” Trump said at a news conference at Trump Tower in New York on Tuesday. “Do they have any semblance of guilt? What about the fact they came charging with clubs in their hands, swinging clubs? Do they have any problem? I think they do.”
Of course, Trump surely isn’t likely to take advice from the “Terminator” star — the two have been embroiled in a public feud for months, since Schwarzenegger took over Trump’s role as host of NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice.” Trump blamed Schwarzenegger for the show’s dwindling ratings, going to far as to ask for prayers on Schwarzenegger’s behalf during the National Prayer Breakfast: “I just want to pray for Arnold, if we can, for those ratings,” Trump said at the time. Schwarzenegger fired back when he abruptly quit “Celebrity Apprentice” in March, stating that the reality show’s ratings plummeted because of its continued association with Trump.
And even in his newest video — clearly intended to offer an earnest message to Trump, and a scathing condemnation of Nazis — Schwarzenegger couldn’t resist taking one more jab at the commander in chief. After delivering his suggested speech into the camera, Schwarzenegger leans down, and a small Donald Trump bobblehead suddenly comes into view.
“Was that difficult?” Schwarzenegger asks the solemn-faced toy. Then he laughs: “See, I told you!”