The mother of the woman who was run down by a car during violent clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia, said today that after seeing President Donald Trump’s comments equating white supremacist protesters with those demonstrating against them, she does not wish to speak with him.
“I’m not talking to the president now; I’m sorry,” Susan Bro said. “After what he said about my child.”
In an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Bro said that she had initially missed several calls from the White House, the first of which came during the funeral of her daughter, Heather D. Heyer, who was killed when a man drove a car into a crowd of counterprotesters Saturday.
She said that she had been too busy with the funeral and working to set up a foundation in her daughter’s name to watch the news until Aug. 17. That was when she saw footage of Trump’s explosive news conference on Aug. 15, in which he said that there was “blame on both sides” for the violence in Charlottesville.
“I saw an actual clip of him at a press conference equating the protesters like Ms. Heyer with the KKK and the white supremacists,” Bro said.
She acknowledged a statement that she had released Aug. 14, in which she thanked Trump for his “words of comfort and for denouncing those who promote violence and hatred” that day. But she said that after hearing his later comments, which effectively reversed what he had said the day before, she decided that she did not want to hear from him.
“You can’t wash this one away by shaking my hand and saying ‘I’m sorry,’” she added. “I’m not forgiving for that.”
Asked toward the end of the interview today if there was a message she wanted to convey to the president, Bro was brief:
“Think before you speak,” she said.
A White House spokeswoman, Lindsay Walters, had said that the White House was looking to set up a “convenient” time for the president to talk to Bro. Trump had tweeted earlier this week that Heyer was “a truly special young woman” who would be “long remembered by all!”
He did not mention Heyer by name in his Tuesday news conference, but several times he referred to Bro’s statement thanking him for asserting that “racism is evil” and condemning hate groups including the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists.
“I thought that the statement put out, the mother’s statement, I thought was a beautiful statement,” Trump said. “I tell you, it was something that I really appreciated. I thought it was terrific.”
Heyer, 32, was one of a crowd of counterprotesters struck by a Dodge Challenger that police say was driven by James Alex Fields Jr. of Maumee, Ohio. Nineteen people were injured. At her memorial service Wednesday, her family and friends remembered her as passionate and strong in her political convictions.
Bro said at the memorial service that her daughter’s death should serve as a rallying cry for those who stood up against discrimination. She received a standing ovation after telling attendees to fight for their values, as her daughter had.
“They tried to kill my child to shut her up,” Bro said. “Well, guess what — you just magnified her.”