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Story highlights

Trump's proposed budget cuts $1.2 billion in after-school program grants

The former California governor vowed to fight the President on the cuts

Arnold Schwarzenegger joins Van Jones for a live edition of “The Messy Truth,” airing Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET on CNN.

(CNN) —  

Arnold Schwarzenegger found himself in familiar territory Wednesday: taking aim at President Donald Trump.

This time, the actor and former California governor blasted the President over his proposed $1.2 billion cut to after-school programs.

“President Trump promised us he wants to ‘make America great again.’ That’s not how you make America great, by taking $1.2 billion from the children and robbing them blind,” Schwarzenegger said in front of hundreds of program leaders at the National After-School Summit at the University of Southern California’s Schwarzenegger Institute.

“Why would he do that?” he said of the Trump budget’s proposed elimination of the 21st Century Community Learning Center grant program. “Why would he want to balance the budget on the backs of those kids?”

Schwarzenegger vowed to put up a fight in Washington, calling the after-school program leaders in attendance “terminators.”

“When I look at you, I see a bunch of warriors,” he said. “We’re going to go to Washington, and we’re not going to take this lying down.”

His comments come on the heels of a feud between Trump and Schwarzenegger over the latter’s low-rated version of “The New Celebrity Apprentice.” Trump, who is the show’s executive producer, blamed the ratings slide on Schwarzenegger.

Arnold shot back in a video released on social media: “Hey, Donald, I have a great idea. Why don’t we switch jobs?” Schwarzenegger said. “You take over TV because you’re such an expert on ratings, and I take over your job, and then people can finally sleep comfortably again.”

Schwarzenegger announced last month that he won’t return for another season of the show.

Later in the summit, during an on-stage Q-and-A with CNN’s Van Jones, Schwarzenegger addressed the need for holding Congress accountable, rather than “complaining in front of your television set.”

“Congress has a 15% approval rating – which is below herpes or colonoscopies,” Schwarzenegger quipped, to laughs from the audience. “But 98% of them get re-elected.”

Still, it was clear that summit organizers recognized the importance of Congress in protecting funding for after-school programs after Trump’s budget chief, Mick Mulvaney, said there’s “no demonstrable evidence” the programs are working.

A video of Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, was played in front of program leaders, in which she said, “This is not a time to panic.”

Murkowski, who co-sponsored legislation supporting after-school programs, urged attendees of the summit to “re-energize” and to prove to Congress the importance of the programs in their states.

Schwarzenegger, who said the programs help millions of children every year, added: “Keep pumping! Reps, reps, reps. We’ll never stop until we get there!”