Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger arrived late to his SXSW panel today by an hour and half due to high winds delaying his plane. But the minute he took the mic at the Downtown Hilton Austin, he engaged in his favorite sport other than body building: Trump-dinging.
But in all fairness, Trump started this recent round when he slammed Schwarzenegger in a recent Pennsylvania speech.
Asked by Politico’s Edward-Isaac Dovere about this, the Terminator star quipped, “It’s very nice of him to call me a movie star. I never know really why the Russians make him say certain things. It’s beyond me. Why do you think he says those things? He’s supposed to be very busy. He promised people that he would reform the infrastructure and health care reform. There’s so many issues that need to be addressed, but he’s not addressing them. He also promised to drain the swamp. Everything goes on as usual,” said Schwarzenegger who says that the government is wasting millions and millions of dollars of the tax payer’s money, read “The Secretary of the Interior was caught spending $139K on a new door. He thinks he’s the Secretary of the Interior Design.”
Per the Commando star, Trump botched up tax reform, benefiting necessarily someone rich like Schwarzenegger, and putting tax dollars into the wealthy hands and diverting $1.2 billion away from after-school programs. Another area where Trump is wrong: filling his cabinet with Republican appointments. Schwarzenegger patted himself on the back for having an inclusive cabinet, one which also employed Democrats in order to achieve a better sense of governance and policy. Schwarzenegger kept reminding everyone that his chief of staff was a female lesbian Democrat, and he stood by her hire despite excessive criticism from his party.
The former two-term governor has sparred with Trump on social media over everything from the president’s controversial speech following the white supremacist violent outbreak in Charlottesville last summer (Schwarzenegger even wrote a proper speech for Trump) to POTUS defense of gerrymandering.
“If you have such experience in TV, why not take on hosting Celebrity Apprentice and I take on his job so people can go to sleep,” was Arnie’s message back to Trump.
But the Trump jokes didn’t stop there. When asked to give an update on the new James Cameron produced Terminator film that he’s shooting this summer, Schwarzenegger said that they had to write Trump into the script: “The T800 travels back to 2019 to get Trump out of prison!”
Schwarzenegger, completely in love with balancing his movie/TV work with politics, also gave an update on the Twins sequel, Triplets: that Eddie Murphy is attached and the script is finished. “Funny thing that happens in the mixing of the sperm,” said Schwarzenegger about the upcoming comedy. Also upcoming for Arnie is an Amazon TV series, Outrider, and a King Conan movie.
Asked to comment on the #MeToo movement specifically in the wake of being accused of groping charges while he was running for Governor, Schwarzenegger praised the recent female empowerment era, saying, “I think it’s fantastic. I think women have been used and abused and treated horribly for too long. I think all the elements have come together to create this movement which puts a spotlight on the issue and I hope people learn from that.”
Schwarzenegger called the groping charges “Politically motivated,” but it also forced him to think about his previous wrongs with women on film sets and in studio offices. “You take this thing seriously. I made a mistake and I have to apologize for that.” He continued to explain that the first thing he did when he was Governor was to hold sexual harassment classes, which for him, made all the difference.
While Schwarzenegger made no promises to run for other political offices, in his rally for a greener environment and after school programs, the moderator nudged the former Governor to talk about a letter he received from President Bill Clinton, encouraging him to become a Democrat. That letter hangs on a wall in Schwarzenegger’s office.
“That’s a fun letter, and I like supporting him on some issues, but the bottom line is that I’m a Republican, and I’m a true Republican, and I will always be a Republican. It’s a fantastic party, but they’ve veered off into the right into some strange lanes.”