- Arnold Schwarzenegger thinks he knows why President Donald Trump won’t stop sparring with him.
- “He’s in love with me,” the Terminator: Dark Fate star says in Men’s Health‘s new cover story. “That’s the reality of it. With Trump, he wants to be me.”
- The former Governor of California has been a Republican since the late ’60s, and remains one to this day.
Arnold Schwarzenegger has been a Republican for just about as long as he’s lived in America. At the 2004 Republican National Convention, he told a story about watching Richard Nixon in 1968, and asking a friend: What party is he? When he learned Nixon was a Republican, Schwarzenegger responded: “Then I am a Republican.”
These days, though, it’s no secret that he doesn’t exactly see eye-to-eye with the current highest-ranking Republican in the country, President Donald Trump. The pair have sparred back and forth on a number of topics—from Trump’s policies to Schwarzenegger’s low-rated stint as Trump’s replacement on Celebrity Apprentice—for the majority of Trump’s time in the political spotlight.
In the October cover story of Men’s Health, Schwarzenegger takes a guess at why the 45th president won’t drop the feud. “I think he really—he’s in love with me,” he says. “That’s the reality of it. With Trump, he wants to be me.”
Schwarzenegger also reminisced about a time in the past, pre-feud, when the pair watched wrestling together:
“I remember that in the old days, when we went to the wrestling matches, the way he admired people with bodies, and the way they would jump around in the ring, and to perform physical stunts and stuff like that—he had great admiration for that. He asked me, ‘How do you do that, with the movies? I mean, it’s so believable’. He drilled down to specific questions that fascinated him. It was about ‘How do you sell something? Like, a scene. How do you go and act out a scene so that I get affected emotionally?’ He was fascinated by that. ‘How do you do this when you do interviews—that you penetrate through it and you then are totally believable?'”
The relationship between the two hasn’t always been frayed. When Schwarzenegger first took over as the host of Celebrity Apprentice, Trump wished him well. According to Politico, back in 2004—a year after he was elected Governor of California—Schwarzenegger switched his hotel to one owned by Trump (at Trump’s request) during the Republican National Convention. A couple of years later, in 2007, Schwarzenegger appeared on an episode of The Apprentice, where the future-president and then-reality host called Arnold a “great friend.” He donated $10,000 to Schwarzenegger’s campaign later that year.
In 2013, both Trump and Schwarzenegger posted glowingly on social media about running into one another at a WWE Hall of Fame event:
At least publicly, the relationship between the two began to take a downward turn a couple of years later. Schwarzenegger was announced as Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice replacement in late 2015, and Trump was initially supportive of the choice. By 2016, though, Schwarzenegger revealed that while he still considered himself a Republican, he had decided to vote for Ohio Governor John Kasich in the primaries rather than Trump.
By the time Trump had officially become the Republican nominee, Schwarzenegger announced publicly that he wouldn’t vote for him.
When Schwarzenegger’s Celebrity Apprentice season began airing in early 2017, Trump, then the President-elect, began to blast the Terminator actor’s run and poor ratings.
When it was announced that Arnold’s Celebrity Apprentice would not be returning, Trump again blasted the former governor.
Schwarzenegger has hit back at Trump as well, mostly with regard to opposing certain policy positions:
There was also an odd moment earlier this year, when Trump said that Schwarzenegger had “died” and that he “was there.” He was most likely talking flippantly about something related to Celebrity Apprentice, but the timing was random. Schwarzenegger caught wind of this, and responded on his Twitter account: “I’m still here. Want to compare tax returns @realDonaldTrump?” he wrote.
The pair has now sparred on and off for upwards of three years, and as we get closer and closer to the 2020 election, there appear to be no signs of slowing down.