During the final ceremony to honor late President Ronald Reagan at the Reagan Library in California, the Pledge of Allegiance was recited by guests in attendance, with at least one notable exception – California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, R-Calif.
Live camera coverage of the event showed the chief executive of America’s most populous state standing at attention, but remaining silent while Reagan relatives, friends and even former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher pledged their allegiance “to the flag of the United States of America.”
Schwarzenegger, a Republican, was born in Austria in 1947, but left as a young adult to pursue a bodybuilding and acting career in America. He became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1983, and still retains dual citizenship with his Austrian homeland.
His silence during the pledge prompted phone calls to Joseph Farah’s WorldNetDaily Radioactive program, and a host of letters to the editor after Farah publicized the incident in a June 21 commentary.
“He needs to explain himself and apologize for the poor etiquette and unpatriotic attitude he displayed during the Reagan funeral,” Farah wrote. “It was a slight not only to the United States of America, but to the late president.”
Some of the reaction letters to WorldNetDaily include:
- “My wife and I both noticed [Schwarzenegger's non-pledge] at the time and we thought: ‘How rude!’ Something else we noticed and commented on amongst ourselves was, when everyone was standing and singing along to the National Anthem, Arnold again had his lips firmly locked closed. It does make you wonder just how seriously he takes the citizenship oath.” (Brian Davis, Indianapolis)
- “I, too, noted that Arnie didn’t participate. I was wondering who would bring this matter up. The U.S. has made his successful life possible. What is wrong with this man?” (Paula Moore)
- “Not only did Margaret Thatcher say the Pledge of Allegiance, she sang the National Anthem through to the end. Neither Arnold nor Maria did. Even if you can’t sing, you can mouth the words.” (Shellie Grant)
- “Arnold swore an oath to ‘absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty,’ yet clearly has not done so. Then again, as governor, he swore to ‘defend the Constitution of the United States,’ but that hasn’t stopped him from embracing ‘gun control’ and endorsing Dianne
Feinstein’s quest to make permanent the ban on semi-autos. So much for oaths. Like most politicians, it appears his primary loyalty is to himself. (David Codrea)
- “Arnold will just explain it away or ignore it. Sad, sad, sad.” (Jim Harrison, Westerville, Ohio)
Repeated requests over several days by WorldNetDaily seeking an explanation from Schwarzenegger or his office were unsuccessful.
Ironically, in his 1990 film “Kindergarten Cop,” Schwarzenegger plays an undercover officer who poses as a substitute schoolteacher and leads his young students in a recitation of the pledge.
Reacting to Reagan’s death, Schwarzenegger was not at all silent about his admiration for the president, but was rather outspoken, using glowing terms to honor the former commander in chief.
Ronald Reagan in 1981 (Courtesy of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation, all rights reserved)
“He was a great American patriot,” Schwarzenegger said in a statement. “I did not just admire him, I was fortunate enough to know him. He was a hero to me. Ronald Reagan called America the shining city on the hill. And by the force of his leadership and optimism, he renewed the promise of America. He had the courage to tell us that it was all right to stand tall and believe in our country, and believe in ourselves.”
The Reagan Library in Simi Valley, Calif., is now compiling highlights from the memorial events during the week following the president’s death, to be sold to the public on CD and DVD formats, though it’s unclear if the Pledge of Allegiance footage from the interment ceremony would be included on the DVD.
“Our hope is that the CD is available July 4th,” said library spokeswoman Melissa Giller. “We don’t have a date yet for the DVD. It’s still in the works.”
Two political experts from California universities had not heard about the pledge incident until informed by WND.
Richard Brody, a professor emeritus of political science at Stanford University, says he’s surprised Schwarzenegger “missed the opportunity.”
“Who knows what was on his mind at the time? I don’t,” Brody said. “I don’t think there’s anything you can read into it [regarding Schwarzenegger's patriotism]. If he ever gets qualified to run for president – which I doubt, given the Constitution – it’s possible that someone would make an issue of it.”
Regarding the observation that Baroness Thatcher, a subject of the British crown, pledged her allegiance to America’s flag, Brody said, “She was a big buddy of Ronald Reagan and took any opportunity to make common cause with him on things like the pledge and so forth.”
At UCLA, political science professor Ken Schultz said, “[Schwarzenegger's silence] does strike me as an odd thing. I don’t know what’s up with that.”
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