Former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger lambasted US President Donald Trump on Thursday for his failure to unequivocally condemn participants in a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend.
In a video published by media company ATTN, the politician and film star said the president has “a moral responsibility to send an unequivocal message that you won’t stand for hate and racism.”
As for the president’s insistence that “both sides” exhibited violent behavior during the rally — which ended with a suspected Nazi sympathizer driving his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer — Schwarzenegger said “There are not two sides to bigotry and there are not two sides to hatred.
“If you choose to march with a flag that symbolizes the slaughter of millions of people, there are not two sides,” he said.
Schwarzenegger this week said he would donate $100,000 to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which combats anti-Semitism and bigotry, in the wake of the far-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The actor mockingly offered to help Trump write a speech in which he would condemn the rally-goers.
“‘As president of the United States, and as a Republican, I reject the support of white supremacists,'” he said. “‘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.'”
He then asked a bobblehead Trump doll: “Was it that difficult?”
Schwarzenegger also made a direct appeal to white nationalists and neo-Nazi supporters to abandon hatred, recalling his childhood in post-Nazi Austria.
“It’s never too late to make the choices to learn and to evolve, and to understand that all human beings have equal value,” he said.
“Let me be just as blunt as possible: Your heroes are losers. I knew the original Nazis. I was born in Austria in 1947 after the Second World War. Growing up, I was surrounded by broken men. Men who came home from a war filled with shrapnel and guilt. Men who were misled into a losing ideology. And I can tell you: that these ghosts that you idolize spent the rest of their lives living in shame. And right now, they’re resting in hell.”
Schwarzenegger called on all Americans to speak up against bigotry, saying “The only way to beat the loud, angry voices of hate is to meet them with louder, more reasonable voices.
“Those of you who have been silent, you must also evolve. I learned a long time ago that the only way we can eliminate hatred is to face it head on.”