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Arnold Schwarzenegger says his father was among millions ‘sucked into a hate system’ by lies

By Chandelis Duster, CNN

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Wednesday spoke out against antisemitism and hate, pointing to his family history in the hope it would stand as an example for others.

“My father was, and so many other millions of men were, sucked into a hate system through lies and deceit. And so, we have seen where that leads,” Schwarzenegger told CNN’s Dana Bash in an exclusive interview, after earlier telling her at a forum at the University of Southern California that he had been “born with a father that was a Nazi.”

“I’ve seen it firsthand how broken this man’s — this man were,” he continued. “The kinds of atrocities that happened. How many millions of people had to die and then they ended up losers … in the Confederacy, losers, as they all have, this just doesn’t work. I mean, let’s just go and get along. And love is more powerful than hate.”

The actor, who was born in Austria in 1947 and moved to the US in 1968, has been outspoken about his father Gustav Schwarzenegger’s involvement with the Nazi party during WWII. In a video message released in March, he referenced his father as he called out hate speech and urged those on “the easy path of hate” to “choose a life of strength” and “fight the war against yourself.”

Schwarzenegger’s comments come amid increased levels of antisemitism and a rise in hate crimes across the US. A report released by the Anti-Defamation League last month found that antisemitic incidents in the US at their highest level since the organization began recording them in 1979. Data released by the FBI in March shows that the number of hate crimes reported in the US also increased in 2021.

Schwarzenegger told Bash at the forum that he did not know the reason behind the rise in hate and antisemitic violence, but said: “I think we have to figure out a way of toning it down.”

“I think it’s very clear that the more liberal we go with social issues, you see the other side becoming more and more angry, and there’s more and more hate in general,” he said. “There are people who created the insurrection and you know went absolutely berserk in Washington on January 6th. And it’s just so many people that are angry. Not just angry about Whites against Blacks, or people against Jews and all this but just angry in general.”

‘Absoutely not’ concerned about Trump as 2024 GOP frontrunner

Asked if he was concerned about former President Donald Trump being the potential frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, Schwarzenegger told Bash “absolutely not” and that he did not believe the former president could win another term.

Trump is aiming to become only the second commander-in-chief ever elected to two nonconsecutive terms. His bid comes despite a recent indictment on business fraud charges in New York and being under investigation for his actions as president — including a sprawling criminal investigation by the Justice Department into the effort by Trump and his allies to block the peaceful transition of power on January 6, 2021.

Yet at this stage, he remains the clear Republican frontrunner, leading his rivals by double digits.

“Being a frontrunner of one party and letting them dig this hole deeper and deeper is going to make it easy for the Democrats to win,” Schwarzenegger told Bash. “It’s sad to see that. That they couldn’t come up with a new talent, with a new face that is a reasonable, smart, intelligent person that can lead this country in a Republican way.”

Following the January 6 insurrection, the former governor released a video comparing the riot to Kristallnacht, also known as the Night of Broken Glass, a rampage of violence by the Nazi regime against Jewish communities, synagogues and businesses in Germany and Austria in 1938.

“First thing that came to my mind when I saw the insurrection was that it was dangerous and we were very, very close to losing our democracy that day and this could be the beginning the something just like Kristallnacht was and let’s all be aware of that,” Schwarzenegger told Bash on Wednesday.

“If you look at the history we learn from the past not to repeat it again … it’s a wake-up call to let people know you have to take this seriously. And not just like, ‘Oh, let’s get those right wingers. Let’s put them in jail,’ and all this stuff. No. This is much more than that.”

This story has been updated with additional details.

™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Dakin Andone, Krystina Shveda and Lisa Respers France contributed to this report.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

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