Jane Fonda is opening up about why she doesn't hate President Donald Trump — and why people should express more empathy toward him

By Alexia Fernandez
September 26, 2018 07:40 PM
Jane Fonda, President Donald Trump
Rick Diamond/Getty; NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty

Jane Fonda is opening up about why she doesn’t hate President Donald Trump — and why people should express more empathy toward him.

The Book Club actress, 80, gave her thoughts on Trump, 72, on Politico’s Women Rule podcast published on Wednesday in which she revealed she didn’t harbor negativity toward the president.

Fonda was asked what her younger self would think of a Trump presidency in her youth when she was protesting Richard Nixon and the Vietnam War, to which she replied, “Well, it makes me terrified [to think of it].”

“Here’s something, though, that I think is important,” she said. “I hate what he stands for, what he does, what he says. I don’t hate him.

She continued, “I feel that I understand a little bit. This is a man who was traumatized as a child by his father, who had a mother that didn’t protect him. And the behavior is the language of the wounded. So, you have to have empathy for him while you hate what he does.”

Fonda said that empathy should also extend “to the people who voted for him” although she conceded “some of them you can’t possibly persuade otherwise because they’re white supremacists.”

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“But, there’s a whole bunch of Trump voters who we have to open our hearts to and understand why they voted the way they did and try to reach them,” the actress added.

Fonda has always been an activist, volunteering for Swing Left’s “Last Weekend” initiative to draw attention to the November midterm elections in July. 

RELATED: Jane Fonda Urges Americans to Vote in Midterms: ‘We’re in an Existential Crisis — I’m Scared’

“I mean 2020 is going to be important but what happens in November, in terms of who’s going to be elected, is going to determine not just the foreseeable future — but for generations — what this country is going to look like. We must elect people at all levels. We really need to protect our democracy and registering to vote if one hasn’t already, and actually voting this November, is critical,” she said in an interview.

Fonda began making waves in the early 1970s with her fierce opposition to the Vietnam War.

In 1972, she traveled to Hanoi, Vietnam and posed in an infamous photo where she sat on a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft battery. Critics called her “Hanoi Jane” after the incident, and Fonda later apologized to veterans, saying she would “go to my grave regretting the photograph.” Fonda has also been a strong supporter of feminist and environmental causes for decades.