Jane Fonda opens up on the return of ‘Fire Drill Fridays,’ Trump and Biden 2024
Jane Fonda is getting ready to sound the alarm in Washington once again, heading back to D.C. for her first in-person “Fire Drill Friday” protest in nearly three years.
“COVID is somewhat diminished, and we feel it’s safe. And the midterms are over and we’re entering a new year — we wanted to come to D.C. live and say, ‘OK, this is what the election has meant for climate. This is what we have to do going forward,’ ” Fonda said.
The “Grace and Frankie” star and Greenpeace USA advocate first launched “Fire Drill Fridays” back in 2019, with the aim of raising awareness and urging action on climate change. The 84-year-old actor packed up and moved to Washington for the 14 weeks of protests outside the Capitol and around the District, and she was arrested multiple times during the demonstrations.
Forced to take her protests online due to the pandemic, Fonda told ITK in a recent interview that she’ll be returning to a different Washington following last year’s deadly riot at the Capitol by supporters of then-President Trump.
“I think [the city’s] more buttoned up. I think it’s more paranoid about violence and stuff like that,” she said.
“Clearly, after Jan. 6 — that’s why we’re not doing it where we did it before on the grounds of the Capitol,” Fonda said, citing security measures. The Fire Drill Friday rally on Friday will instead be held at Freedom Plaza.
Some of the speakers expected include Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council member Jerome Foster, among others.
Fonda also said she doesn’t expect to be arrested this time around.
“We are not engaging in civil disobedience” because of public health measures and the attack at the Capitol, the Academy Award winner said.
The outspoken performer, who launched an eponymous climate PAC earlier this year, said with a Democratic president in office and a majority in the Senate, like-minded supporters must “demand” that President Biden declare a climate emergency.
“When he does that, all kinds of mechanisms become available to him, including Pentagon money that you can use for green technology going forward, including banning export of U.S. crude oil, for example, which would be very important, and stopping fossil fuel subsidies that taxpayers pay $20 billion every year for this stuff that’s killing us.”
Asked if she would throw her support behind Biden if he runs for reelection in 2024, Fonda replied, “I don’t know.”
“I guess if he runs, I’ll support him, yeah,” she added.
In a 2019 interview, Fonda said that she didn’t “hate” Trump, but felt “sad” for the 45th president. When ITK wondered if she still felt the same way, Fonda responded, “Bad behavior is the language of the traumatized. We have to hate the behavior, but not the person.”
“So I try very, very hard — I don’t have to try hard to hate the behavior — but I try not to feel hate for him,” she said.
“He has been traumatized, and unfortunately the American people are paying the price.”
Fonda predicted that Trump — who kicked off his 2024 White House bid earlier this month — wouldn’t land back in the Oval Office.
“Not everybody quite realizes that they are paying a price for what has happened in the last four years. And I frankly don’t think that enough American people are going to want to go through that again, that he will be successful.”
“I don’t think Trump can win, I don’t. I don’t think enough people want that kind of divisive, violent persona running the country.”
Fonda announced in September that she had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. While her most recent chemotherapy session for the cancer took a heavy toll, Fonda said she wasn’t planning on letting if affect her activism.
“It really hit me hard and I haven’t quite come out of it yet. But I’ll be fine by the time I go to D.C.,” she said.
Between being an artist or an activist, Fonda said she was most proud of her role fighting for change.
ITK questioned what Fonda, long a lightning rod for criticism since her days as an anti-Vietnam War activist, would tell her detractors who might accuse her of just being another Hollywood liberal stepping outside her lane.
“Certain interest groups always do that, they say, ‘Well, you have no right to talk because you’re just an actor. You’re just a plumber.’ No, we’re all citizens of this country, and we all have to use whatever platform we have to speak to the values that we believe in and things that we feel must happen,” she said.
“So I just keep doing what I’m doing.”
—Updated at 4:18 p.m.