“President Trump, I just saw your press conference with President Putin and it was embarrassing,” Mr Schwarzenegger said in a video published on social media. “I mean, you stood there like a little wet noodle, like a little fanboy.”
What’s more, the Republican former California governor sarcastically said he questioned whether Mr Trump was going to ask the Russian president for an “autograph” or “selfie”.
Mr Schwarzenegger is certainly not alone in critiquing Mr Trump; the US president has faced a sharp public backlash in the aftermath of the joint news conference, from politicians, international allies countries and fellow Republicans alike.
John McCain called the press conference “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory”.
“The damage inflicted by President Trump’s naiveté, egotism, false equivalence, and sympathy for autocrats is difficult to calculate,” the Republican senator from Arizona said. “But it is clear that the summit in Helsinki was a tragic mistake.”
When asked if he believed conclusions from US intelligence agencies that Russia interfered with the 2016 presidential election, Mr Trump did not denounce Russian interference at the joint conference.
“I have president Putin; he just said it’s not Russia,” he said. “I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be.” Mr Trump added: “So I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.”
Back at the White House, however, the following day, Mr Trump told reporters he had misspoke and intended to say he had no reason to believe why Russia “wouldn’t be” responsible for interfering.
Mr Schwarzenegger has been a vocal critic of Mr Trump since his presidential campaign. He notably announced he would not be voting for a Republican candidate in the 2016 election amid the release of the 2005 Access Hollywood tape, which featured Mr Trump boasting about grabbing women “by their p****” without their consent.
Their feud continued when Mr Trump, who previously starred on reality TV series Celebrity Apprentice, had criticised the former governor last year for “pathetic ratings” since he took over the show. The pair publicly disagreed over whether Mr Schwarzenegger voluntarily left the show or whether he was fired – Mr Trump has insisted on the latter.
Mr Schwarzenegger added in his recent video that Mr Trump “sold out” the American people.
“You literally sold out, at this press conference, our intelligence community, our justice system, and worst of all, our country.”
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies