This week, former California Governor, Hollywood icon, and Mr. Olympia, Arnold Schwarzenegger returns to The Issue Is.
Schwarzenegger sits down with FOX 11’s Elex Michaelson during a visit to The Bell Gardens Intermediate School. Schwarzenegger on hand to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Proposition 49, The After School Education and Safety Act, which he spearheaded in 2002, and which has set aside $650 million a year for after school programs in California.
During a wide-ranging conversation, Schwarzenegger and Michaelson discuss that landmark initiative, the outcome and message of the 2022 midterm elections, the newly announced 2024 Presidential run of former President Donald Trump, his rivalry with Sly Stallone, the rise in antisemitism, his family, and much more.
THE ISSUE IS: 20 YEARS OF PROPOSITION 49
SCHWARZENEGGER'S CENTRAL TAKE: "When I was in Austria and I had my parents there all the time, my mother was there all day cooking, first breakfast, lunch and dinner, she was doing homework with us and she was taking us to the sports fields where my father would meet us at 5:00 after his work was done as a police officer, and then we will be playing soccer and all that stuff, so there was someone there all the time... So the reason why I became so passionate about it was because I saw that in America, 70%-plus kids come from homes that both of the parents are working, because that's the way you can manage, then use the finances and put food on the table and so on, and so I said to myself 'what happens with those kids after 3:00, there's no one there to take them to the sports fields, to do homework with them, to help them with the homework, to do tutoring or whatever’…
"So today, when they look at those kids in the eyes, I say to myself my vision, my dream, to have kids in America also after-school programs has become a reality. But sadly, not every kid, yet, is able to attend an after school program. I mean, in California alone, we have like almost 2 million people attending after-school programs, but there are 6 million students, so we have to provide more money, more funding for this kind of program. On the national basis, we have to do much, much better, too…
"I feel so happy to see those kids enjoying themselves, getting after-school programs, getting homework assistance, getting arts programs, music programs, physical fitness programs, sports programs in all of this, and to have adult supervision."
THE ISSUE IS: POST-MIDTERM ADVICE FOR POLITICIANS IN BOTH PARTIES
SCHWARZENEGGER'S CENTRAL TAKE: "My advice to anybody, Democrats and Republicans alike, is find out what the people really need and what they want and then go and provide that... When you're in politics, it doesn't matter which party you belong to, you are a public servant, not a party servant, so don't give me that party crap. I hate when there's talk about 'our party stands for this...' it's a bunch of crap. What do you mean, your party? What does the people stand for? What did the people want? Sometimes, maybe, what the people wanted something to the left. Sometimes to the right. What does it matter? Don't politicize everything…"
THE ISSUE IS: TRUMP 2024
SCHWARZENEGGER'S CENTRAL TAKE: "I think that's the past, and I think that we have to march into the future. And I think there are very talented people in this country, on the Republican side that can run, so I will go look in the future rather than in the rear mirror….
"I’m only excited about one thing, and this is to bring the economy back, to lower the inflation, to create an energy policy where we really know where our energy comes from in the future, to go and be environmentally friendly and lower the greenhouse gases and the emissions and all that stuff, and to serve the people of this country. There's so many people that are struggling right now with the inflation and with the unemployment and all this, I think we just all have to work together to really help people, that's what it's all about."
THE ISSUE IS: A POWERFUL VISIT TO AUSCHWITZ
SCHWARZENEGGER'S CENTRAL TAKE: "I went there as the son of a Nazi officer that was in the Second World War and that fought on Hitler's side. And then to be there with someone that has been born in Austria, who was the head of the Auschwitz Jewish Center. And so now this guy is a Jew, I am the son of a Nazi officer, and now we are celebrating there together that the never again, and let's make sure that the people will always remember what happened and never forget and that this never happens again. So I think that was great for us to tell, we're both Austrians in the way, but we come from different backgrounds, but one generation has molded us together and we become friends…."
THE ISSUE IS: A RIVALRY-TURNED-FRIENDSHIP WITH STALLONE
SCHWARZENEGGER'S CENTRAL TAKE: "We were very competitive and we both acknowledge that this was very important to our careers because competition creates performance. So I was trying to outperform him. He was trying to outperform me. And what happened was we got better and we were training harder, we were getting more muscular, and we were trying to I mean, we were competing at stupid stuff... We were competing on stuff like who kills more people on the screen, so if the script in 'Commando' had 46 people that they killed, I had to go and kill 86 people just to make sure that there's no way that he can beat that. And then he would go and compete against me about who has bigger knives to kill people with, and who has the bigger gun? He has a gun in Rambo, his big gun from the helicopter, so then I got a bigger gun in the jungle and during shooting 'Predator' where we mowed down all the trees. So it was stupid competition, but it was in a way funny also, now, thinking about it, then when you're in the middle of it is funny because in the I always had to have like someone that is in front of me that's like the enemy, so that's what motivated me to, okay, I got to go and be better than him. And he felt the same way…"