Is Arnold Schwarzenegger really still a Republican?

The actor and former Governor of California has given speeches at the Republican National Convention. Perhaps more importantly, he ran and won as a Republican during his time heading California’s executive branch.

However, Schwarzenegger is an outspoken proponent of environmental protections and of securing democracy. He has also been one of disgraced former president Donald Trump’s most vocal critics.

Considering that he represents values that are antithetical to the dominant ideology of the GOP, is Schwarzenegger still a Republican?

Arnold Schwarzenegger in April of 2024.Arnold Schwarzenegger in April of 2024.
Arnold Schwarzenegger speaks during the 10X Growth Conference 2024 at The Diplomat Beach Resort on April 04, 2024. (Photo Credit: Ivan Apfel/Getty Images)

Is Arnold Schwarzenegger a Republican?

As you can see in the video below, Arnold Schwarzenegger spoke to ABC’s Meet The Press in October of 2023 to clarify his political affiliation.

“When I go up to Capitol Hill and I meet with my Republican colleagues, I have a great time meeting with them,” he described.

“And,” Schwarzenegger continued, “talking about the environment and talking about the important issues.”

“I don’t look at them as kind of crazies like some people do,” Arnold Schwarzenegger expressed of his fellow Republicans.

“There are some that are extreme,” he freely acknowledged.

“But,” Schwarzenegger then added, “there’s no reason to villainize anybody.” That is true enough. People who are villains tend to villainize themselves without anyone’s help.

Arnold Schwarzenegger in November of 2023.Arnold Schwarzenegger in November of 2023.
Arnold Schwarzenegger speaks onstage during the Holocaust Museum LA gala after being honored with first Award of Courage at The Beverly Hills Hotel on November 06, 2023. (Photo Credit: Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Holocaust Museum LA)

But does Arnold Schwarzenegger still ‘fit in’ with the Republican Party?

Despite his 2020 election loss and 2021 attempt to usurp those election results by effectively siccing his most violent followers on Congress to prevent the formal recognition of his defeat, Donald Trump still enjoys widespread support within the Republican Party and is the presumptive nominee for the 2024 election.

Mike Johnson is a climate science-doubter, an election-denier, and a Trump supporter. He is also the Republican Speaker of the House, elected to that position by his peers in Congress.

At present, all across the nation and on every political level, GOP operatives are at work restricting voter rights and generally laying the groundwork to bring about a 2024 Trump victory.

Arnold Schwarzenegger in late October of 2023.Arnold Schwarzenegger in late October of 2023.
Arnold Schwarzenegger speaks onstage at an Evening with Arnold Schwarzenegger presented by Fane at London Palladium on October 24, 2023. (Photo Credit: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for Fane)

Meanwhile, Arnold Schwarzenegger is a staunch supporter of environmental protections. The radical deregulation agenda pushed by the far right is antithetical to his stances.

In the wake of the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, Schwarzenegger accurately described Trump as the “worst president ever.”

He also condemned the “spinelessness” of members of his own party who were “complicit” in the worst attack on America itself since 9/11. Schwarzenegger’s comments drew very accurate comparisons to escalating Nazi violence from his homeland of Austria.

Why is Arnold Schwarzenegger still part of the GOP?

Political party affiliation is no simple matter. Schwarzenegger clearly feels that there are enough of his values within the Republican Party that he can save it from the radicalization that has taken over it.

And so, he stays.

The GOP that he envisions might not be one that anyone born within the past 40 years would recognize, but there are certainly Republicans who represent conservatism without (overt) white supremacy, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, Islamophobia, or any of the Republican Party’s other current defining features.

Some may argue that Schwarzenegger is merely a Republican by habit. Many Americans have older relatives who voted for GOP candidates back when airplanes had “smoking sections” and never shook the political label, even if they abhor Trump and all that he represents.

Identity can be a difficult thing to unpack and redefine.

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