Oscar-winning actress and political activist Jane Fonda on Wednesday urged liberals to open their hearts and minds to understanding President Trump and his supporters.

“I hate what he stands for, what he does, what he says — I don’t hate him,” Ms. Fonda, 80, told Politico for its “Women Rule” podcast. “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.

“You have to have empathy for him as a human being, while you hate what he does,” she continued. “And I think that that has to also transfer to the people who voted for him. Some of them, you can’t possibly persuade otherwise because they’re white supremacists. You know, or they’re so far off the spectrum, for their own traumatic reasons, probably.

“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,” she said. “Because part of the problem is that, on our side, we haven’t been taking to them and expressing empathy. … Morally, we can’t write off the huge swath of humans in the middle of our country who are really hurting. … We have to stand at the margins with the marginalized in kinship, not is some kind of patronizing way, but really understanding what they’re going through.”

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Ms. Fonda, referring to the decades of backlash she faced for her infamous “Hanoi Jane” photo, explained that she learned the most from that experience by speaking with American soldiers and understanding their side of the issue. She said Democrats should spend less time attacking the president and more time trying to reach voters.

“You never want to criticize Trump, and you don’t want to criticize Fox [News]. You want to tell people things they don’t know,” she said. “Just like what changed and saved my life was being told things I didn’t know by American soldiers. We have to reach out and listen and then respond in a way that’s meaningful.”

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