The Terminator actor, who is a former governor of California, recalled Johnson’s time as London Mayor in a new interview, commending the bicycle hire scheme he introduced in the capital, often referred to as “Boris bikes”.
Schwarzenegger made the comments during an interview with Alok Sharma as they discussed the PM’s role as the President of Cop26, the international climate change summit due to take place in Glasgow later this year.
“Your prime minister is, unlike some of the other countries that are host countries of this event – of a Cop event – he is the real deal,” Schwarzenegger said.
“And I remember when he was mayor of London, and he started the Boris bikes, and he had me come over to his office, and we rode around on the Boris bikes, you know, to make them popular, and had the press show up and all this stuff and now in the meantime, those Boris bikes are in every city in the world.
“So it just shows to you how someone’s idea can really spread worldwide. And you know, they have it in Vienna, they have it in Paris, they have it in South Africa, everywhere they have it in Japan, in South Korea I rode the Boris bike. I mean, they are all over the world.”
Schwarzenegger added: “So he is really the real deal and he really believes in it and that’s what I love about him, and I think that’s why your conference is going to be successful, because with his backing, and with your knowledge and your passion and all that stuff, I think it’s going to be great.”
Schwarzenegger and Johnson had previously been engaged in a war of words, after the actor was caught on a microphone calling the MP’s 2007 Conservative conference address “fumbling”.
A year later, Johnson responded in his 2008 conference speech, retorting that it had been a “low moment” to have his speaking style “denounced by a monosyllabic Austrian cyborg”.
The pair buried the hatchet in 2011, as they took to the streets of London to promote the Boris bike scheme and have reunited on various occasions since.
Schwarzenegger previously enjoyed a political career as the governor of California from 2003 to 2011.