Arnold Schwarzenegger took aim at President Donald Trump during a speech at the United Nations’ annual climate talks in Katowice, Poland, on Monday, lambasting the U.S. leader as a “meshugge” — a Yiddish word meaning “crazy.”
“Every time you talk about America, you’re right when you say that our leadership in Washington is a little bit backwards. But you’re wrong when you say that America dropped out of the Paris agreement,” Schwarzenegger told delegates, praising “the extraordinary work that is going on in the state and city level in America.”
The former governor of California and noted environmental activist later added:
“We’re doing an extraordinary job there by staying in. Yes, we have a meshugge leader in Washington that is not in, that is out. But remember that America is more than just Washington or one leader.”
The two-week climate conference opened in Poland on Sunday, and emissaries from countries around the world are there to discuss ways to rein in rampant fossil fuel emissions and meet pledges set in the Paris agreement. That pact seeks to limit global warming below 2 degrees Celsius compared with pre-industrial temperatures to avoid the worst effects of climate change: rising seas, an increase in extreme weather events and the loss of biodiversity, among other consequences.
However, despite a near-universal consensus among the world’s leading climate scientists, Trump and many in his administration have vehemently denied that the planet is warming and that humans are the primary cause. The Trump administration said it would withdraw the United States from the Paris deal last year.
The White House released a 1,656-page report compiled by 13 federal agencies last month that painted a bleak portrait of America, warning that by 2100, the U.S. could warm an additional 3 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit and lose about 10 percent of its economy. But the president discounted those claims and intimated that he was too intelligent to believe in climate change.
“It’s not based on facts. ... It’s not data-driven,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told journalists of the report. “We’d like to see something that is more data-driven..”
A separate report released by the UN’s scientific panel on climate change issued equally stark warnings in October, saying the phenomenon was transforming the world at a rate that has “no documented historic precedent.”
During an interview following his talk this week, Schwarzenegger said he would love to be the Terminator — the character he played in the 1984 science fiction film of the same name — so he could help quash climate change in reality.
“I wish that I could be the Terminator in real life,” he said, “to be able to travel back in time and to stop all fossil fuels when they were discovered.”