Schwarzenegger: California GOP is like the Titanic 'after it hit the iceberg'
© Greg Nash

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) on Wednesday warned that the Republican Party is in danger of dying in the state, but expressed hope that it could still bounce back.

“Today we are the Titanic, after it hit the iceberg, but before the last bit of the ship submerged. But unlike the Titanic, we might be able to save Leonardo DiCaprio before he goes under,” Schwarzenegger said, referring to the 1997 movie "Titanic."

California has played a leading role in resisting President TrumpDonald John TrumpAmash responds to 'Send her back' chants at Trump rally: 'This is how history's worst episodes begin' McConnell: Trump 'on to something' with attacks on Dem congresswomen Trump blasts 'corrupt' Puerto Rico's leaders amid political crisis MORE's policies over the last year. Earlier this month, Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump's no racist — he's an equal opportunity offender Press: Acosta, latest to walk the plank The Hill's Morning Report — Trump retreats on census citizenship question MORE announced a lawsuit against the state for making it difficult to enforce federal immigration laws. The administration and California lawmakers have butted heads over a number of Republican-backed policies. 

Schwarzenegger spoke at an event to launch a new advocacy group called New Way California, which aims to unite California state Republicans by focusing on centrist policies and issues.

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In his speech to attendees, he argued that GOP voters are “Americans before we are Republicans,” and should focus on issues like education, the economy and the environment rather than more conservative-specific topics that dominate national conversations.

Schwarzenegger lamented the current state of the party, both state-wide and nationally, and urged donors to cut off their support in order to send a message. 

“You better go and lead and tell your people around you that we’ve got to change — because that’s what California demands — or there will be no money,” he said.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) also spoke at Wednesday’s event, and stressed the need to put constituents ahead of party.

“You can’t bury your head in the sand, and I’ve never understood politicians who played it safe,” he said, noting that he recently convened a panel to recommend new gun safety laws in his state.

“The Republican Party is my vehicle, it’s never been my master,” Kasich added.

Kasich faces ongoing speculation that he will launch a White House bid in 2020 to challenge Trump. His final term as governor ends in 2019.

He said earlier this month that “all options” are on the table for his future, and suggested the country might be headed toward a multiparty system.