Arnold Schwarzenegger on Friday made it clear that he can take the heat after facing backlash for saying those who refuse to wear a mask amid the still roaring coronavirus pandemic are “schmucks.”
In an op-ed for The Atlantic, the movie star and former governor of California admitted that his words to anti-maskers, including “screw your freedom,” were harsh, but necessary.
“There is nothing that I’m more passionate about than keeping America great, and it’s the only subject that can make me lose my temper,” Schwarzenegger wrote. “I knew I’d be called a RINO, but that doesn’t bother me. Honestly, rhinos are beautiful, powerful animals, so I take that as a compliment. I anticipated being called a Nazi and a Communist. But I’ve got thick skin stretched over my metal endoskeleton, so I knew I could take it.”
Schwarzenegger noted that of all the feedback from his statements, it was the apathy which most bothered him.
“Many people told me that the Constitution gives them rights, but not responsibilities. They feel no duty to protect their fellow citizens,” Schwarzenegger penned. “That’s when I realized we all need a civics lesson. I can’t help but wonder how much better off we’d be if Americans took a step back from politics and spent a minute thinking about how lucky we are to call this country home. Instead of tweeting, we could think about what we owe to the patriots who came before us and those who will follow us.”
The former governor said the issue goes beyond politics as “Some people want to create an alternative America, where we have no responsibility to one another. That America has never existed. They may tell you that what we are doing to fight the war against the coronavirus is unprecedented. They’re full of crap. They are lying to you because they make money from your anger.”
Schwarzenegger concluded his lengthy feature by asking all Americans to work together and care for everyone.
“We need to prove to ourselves and to the world that we can unite to defeat a common enemy, because, trust me, the coronavirus is not the biggest challenge we will face this century,” wrote Schwarzenegger.