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Arnold Schwarzenegger Talks President Trump: ‘He Is Back in the Stone Age’

At Cannes, the acting legend and former governor sat down to discuss his new environmental doc ‘Wonders of the Sea 3D’ and the chaotic Trump administration.

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CANNES, France – Had Arnold Schwarzenegger been born in America, the U.S. presidential election, won in November by Donald Trump, might well have turned out differently.

But he was not. This is something that the Terminator star points out during an interview for the environmental film Wonders of the Sea 3D, which he is promoting in Cannes.

“First of all, I am not born in America, otherwise I would have run the last time,” he told The Daily Beast. “That is clear.”

As he has proven, from his role as Governor of California or through his own environmental organization, R20, or even through his contribution as the narrator of this magnificent Cousteau underwater project, one can influence politics in a number of ways.

“I think you can have a great impact on the world without being inside politics,” says Schwarzenegger. “There are many ways of going about it, if you think of the great contributions people make around the world, fighting for a certain cause. The best way it works is if the private sector, the public sector and the non-profit sector all work together in harmony. That is the ideal setup so that you can attack the problem from different angles.”

He knows of what he speaks, as becomes clear when he discusses the R20 approach.

“We do great work to encourage sub-national governments, states, cities, and provinces to take matters into their own hands, because we do not need to wait for the capitals, like London or Moscow,” he says.

Perhaps his good work and deeds might even influence the President one day.

“I wish Trump good luck,” he says. “When he does well, we all do well. It is the bottom line. Democrats and Republicans should support the things he wants to do that are really good.”

Aside from the odd ‘Germanization’ of American-English grammar, Schwarzenegger is, it turns out, incredibly eloquent and mindful. It is no wonder that, as he later reveals, he once fought with director James Cameron over his iconic line, “I’ll be back.” It turns out that he has a lot more to say than that one-liner, although he will be back for the fifth sequel of the film, as per his own confirmation on the Riviera this week.

About to turn 70 in July, he is impressive in other ways, too. He looks incredibly youthful. You can see his biceps through his dapper, summery striped jacket, worn over a Fred Perry-style shirt. Fresh and fit, both mentally and physically, he proves to be quick-witted and funny.

Through his work on this documentary—shot using new technology which, it is hoped, will encourage the world to befriend (rather than kill off) endangered creatures of the sea by seeing them in close-up, he hopes to influence not only Trump but help save the planet.

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“When it comes to the environment, he [Trump] is missing form, and he is back in the Stone Age,” he says. “Hopefully, we can get through to him and make him understand we are on the right track.”

Directed by Jean-Michel Cousteau and narrated by Schwarzenegger, the film is a, “visual feast with an important message, which will make audiences of all ages fall in love with the ocean and ultimately make them want to protect it,” as per the official blurb.

Whatever Trump is doing wrong, Cousteau is helping put right. The film is an education in close-up of something most of us will never see so clearly.

“I don’t want this movie to rely on one person. Believe me, there are a lot of people around the world that don’t believe in this, and don’t believe in protecting the environment in one way or the other,” says Schwarzenegger. “We don’t worry about that. We concentrate on people power. I think people will fall in love with the ocean and want to protect the ocean. I think they will see that one of the wonders of the sea is that it gives us half of the oxygen that we breathe and the food that we eat.”

This is the second time Schwarzenegger has embraced Cannes to “support a film close to his heart.”

Wonders of the Sea 3D marks the 40-year anniversary of Schwarzenegger’s Cannes debut in 1977, when he promoted the weight-lifting documentary, Pumping Iron. He hopes to replicate the impact he had in that arena.

“This is no different than the fitness promotion when we were pumping iron forty years ago,” he says. “Then everyone said there are a lot of people that don’t believe in this, and a lot of people said it is bad for your heart. There was all this stuff. Forty years later, how successful has it been? Every hotel in the world has a gymnasium. Everyone is working out with weights. Everyone is doing weight resistance. Every university has weight rooms, every military unit, high school, every police station, every fire station. Everyone is working out. So it was highly successful. That is what we want to do with the environment. Just bring out good footage.”

Arnold has always been a “very positive person,” and the approach for spreading the environmental word, he says, should also be positive.

“A lot of blaming has gone on,” he says. “In terms of fitness, we did not blame anyone. We did not say he or she is fat or look at her big ass. None of that. We just celebrated the body and now we are celebrating the ocean, and we just want people to fall in love with it.”

Trump might be offering to bring back jobs to America but would it make a difference? At 69, Arnold says it is important to love what you do.

“I don’t think I have a secret,” he says. “Two things: I work out every day, and the second is that I really love my life, so I think that when you enjoy what you are doing it makes a big difference. I am very fortunate that I enjoy what I do, like making movies. One month, you make a movie. Then you promote Arnold Classics. Then you go and do a commencement speech and get your eighth doctorate. Then you do a real estate deal and make a few million dollars. Then you drive up to Santa Barbara for breakfast at 5 a.m.,” he says.

“I am a positive person. I always try to have a good time with what I do,” he continues. “People wondered early on in my life, when they saw me working out, and they saw me laughing in the gym working out five hours a day. They said, what is going on? I didn’t see myself working out five hours a day.  I was visualizing my goal of becoming Mr. Universe. Every step and every rep I did, I felt like I was getting one step closer to my goal. I found such great joy to get closer and closer so I didn’t look at it as work or a chore. Seventy-four percent of people in America don’t enjoy their work. I think that is the reason for depression.”

As for the Trump of it all –

“You never know the way the wind blows in politics when someone runs,” he says. “I think that this time it blew in a way that people were fed up about what was going on. They thought they should get not a difficult politician but an outsider. That is exactly what we want to do with this movie. We want to be an outsider coming in. Not government telling people what to do, but people from the outside, people that are passionate about our environment and what we do with our world. People that want to hand over the world in a better condition to the next generation than we inherited it.”

He adds, “We have seven million people a year dying of pollution. So one man cannot stop anything. I’m sure you have read that so far nothing got done since he became President, so therefore we cannot worry about this one person.”