Mother of Charlottesville victim says she won't speak to Trump or forgive his comments
August 18 at 2:10 PM
Heather Heyerâs mother, Susan Bro, receives a standing ovation during her remarks at a memorial service for her daughter. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
The mother of Heather Heyer, the woman killed in Charlottesville last weekend, said she has no plans to speak to President Trump after he equated protesters like her daughter with the white supremacists who had marched on the city.
âAfter what he said about my child, and â" itâs not that I saw somebody elseâs tweets about him, I saw an actual clip of him at a press conference equating the protesters like Ms. Heyer with th e KKK and the white supremacists,â Heyerâs mother, Susan Bro, told âGood Morning Americaâ on Friday.
âYou canât wash this one away by shaking my hand and saying Iâm sorry,â Bro said. âIâm not forgiving for that.â
Broâs comments marked a sharp, personal response to Trumpâs statement that âboth sidesâ were to blame for the violence in Charlottesville that erupted when counterprotesters confronted white supremacists and neo-Nazis who had marched there for a rally.
Trump said there were âtwo sides to a storyâ and said of the counter-protesters: âDo they have any semblance of guilt? Do they have any problem? I think they do.â
In his public statements, Trump has also expressed kind words for Heyer, tweeting that she was âa truly special young woman.â
Bro said that she missed the first call from the White House because it apparently came during Heyerâs funeral on Wednesday, four days after the 32-year-ol d woman was killed when a car careened into her and other counter-protesters in Charlottesville. Federal officials say the crash may have been a terrorist attack as well as a hate crime.
Bro said âthree more frantic messages from press secretariesâ followed throughout the day Wednesday, but she did not immediately respond because she was recovering from the service.
It was not until Thursday night that Bro said she was able to actually watch the news and see a clip of Trumpâs comments for herself.
âIâm not talking to the president now,â she said Friday. When asked what message she might have for Trump, Bro said: âThink before you speak.â
[âThey tried to kill my child to shut her up,â Heather Heyerâs mother mourns at funeral for woman killed during Nazi protest in Charlottesville]
The White House did not respond to a request for comment Friday regarding Broâs remarks.
Bro has also said that she has been the subject of threatening messages this week. She told MSNBC on Thursday that she received death threats since speaking about her daughter at Heyerâs memorial service in Charlottesville.
âThey tried to kill my child to shut her up, but guess what, you just magnified her,â Bro said during the service, prompting an ovation lasting nearly a minute and a half.Susan Bro, the mother of Heather Heyer, who was killed on Aug. 12 in Charlottesville while protesting white nationalists, urged others to fight injustice and speak up. (The Washington Post)
Trump has drawn intense criticism for his response to the chaos in Charlottesville. His first remarks, delivered Saturday after Heyer was killed, prompted a backlash when Trump denounced âhatred, bigotry and violence on many sidesâ but did not specifically single out white supremacists or neo-Nazis.
On Monday, after mounting push-back, Trump called out those groups by name, saying that âracism is evil and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs.â Bro released a statement that day thanking Trump for his âwords of comfort and denouncing those who promote violence and hatred.â
However, a day later Trump returned to his declaration that âboth sidesâ were to blame for the violence during a remarkable, combative news conference in New York that set off a surge in public condemnation. Trump has bristled at criticism of his response, lashing out at Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) on Thursday morning for issuing a statement disapproving of Trumpâs comments.
During the same news conference, Trump also spoke positively about Heyer and thanked Bro for the statement she released about him.
[Mother of slain Charlottesville protester says sheâs received death threats]
He also excoriated James Alex Fields Jr., who police say plowed into Heyer and other activists on Saturday, assailing the man as âa disgrace to himselfâ and âa murde rer.â Though Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said the attack fits the definition of domestic terrorism, Trump declined to call it terrorism when asked by a reporter.
The White House has not explained why officials waited four days before trying to connect Trump with Heyerâs relatives. In November, after a San Antonio police officer was shot and killed, Trump â" then the president-elect â" called his relatives the following day. Trump also met personally with the victims of an attack at Ohio State University carried out by a Somali refugee.
On Tuesday, Trump did not say whether he will travel to Charlottesville, answering a question about that by mentioning a winery bearing his name in the city. Trump was also asked when he would reach out to Heyerâs family, and Trump did not directly respond, instead thanking Bro again for her statement.
âUnder the kind of stress that she is under and the heartache that she is under, I thought putting out that state ment to me was really something I wonât forget,â he said.
This story, first posted at 9:23 a.m., has been updated.
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