Now joining the parade of prominent Republicans who have declared that, as of yesterday, Donald Trump became insupportable: former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. In a statement posted to Twitter, the muscleman and action-movie hero wrote:
For the first time since I became a citizen in 1983, I will not vote for the Republican candidate for president.
Unless the Austrian immigrant has a very slow-burning fuse, this was apparently not inspired by Trump’s xenophobia or various other campaign-trail misdeeds, but by the recording that the Washington Post published yesterday in which Trump bragged about how he would force himself on women and “grab them by the pussy.”
This is a reversal for Schwarzenegger on two counts—not just as a committed Republican, but as an accused groper running for office. In Oct. 2003, shortly before the California recall election in which Schwarzenegger sought to replace the sitting governor, Gray Davis, the Los Angeles Times reported on extensive accusations against the actor-turned-politician:
Six women who came into contact with Arnold Schwarzenegger on movie sets, in studio offices and in other settings over the last three decades say he touched them in a sexual manner without their consent.
In interviews with The Times, three of the women described their surprise and discomfort when Schwarzenegger grabbed their breasts. A fourth said he reached under her skirt and gripped her buttocks.
A fifth woman said Schwarzenegger groped her and tried to remove her bathing suit in a hotel elevator. A sixth said Schwarzenegger pulled her onto his lap and asked whether a certain sexual act had ever been performed on her.
According to the women’s accounts, one of the incidents occurred in the 1970s, two in the 1980s, two in the 1990s and one in 2000.
Schwarzenegger reportedly said afterward that his actions had been misunderstood, but he apologized for the offense he had caused:
“Those people that I have offended, I want to say to them that I am deeply sorry about that and I apologise because that’s not what I’m trying to do,” he told a stunned crowd in San Diego on Thursday.
(“Anyone who knows me knows these words don’t reflect who I am,” Donald Trump said in his late-night video statement about the tape of his bragging about groping.)
Schwarzenegger was the victor in the recall election, with 48.6 percent of the vote in a crowded field, and he became governor of the nation’s most populous state. In 2006, he won reelection with 55.9 percent of the vote. He was ineligible to run a third time because of California’s term limits.