Susan Bro, the mother of Heather Heyer, who was killed last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, “[has] not and will not” speak to President Trump after his recent comments on the tragedy. Bro, who appeared on Good Morning America on Friday, believes Trump’s statements equated her daughter with white supremacists and the KKK.
“I’m not talking to the president now,” she told GMA on Friday. “I’m sorry. After what he said about my child. And it’s not that I saw somebody else’s tweets about him. I saw an actual clip of him at a press conference equating the protesters like Ms. Heyer with the KKK and the white supremacists.”
In recent news conferences, Trump blamed “both sides” for the violence that erupted in Virginia, where white nationalists gathered last weekend as part of the “Unite the Right” rally. Heyer, 32, was killed after a car crashed into a crowd of counter-protestors, with at least 20 more people injured. James Alex Fields Jr., a 20-year-old from Ohio who was attending the white nationlist rally, was charged with second-degree murder in Heyer’s death.
Bro told GMA that she missed multiple messages from the White House during her daughter’s funeral on Wednesday. “At first, I just missed his calls,” she said. “The first call it looked like actually came during the funeral. I didn’t even see that message. There were three more frantic messages from press secretaries throughout the day, and I didn’t know why … I was home recovering from the exhaustion of the funeral, so I thought, ‘Well, I’ll get to them later,’ and then I had more meetings to establish her foundation. So I hadn’t really watched the news until last night.”
On Monday, following Saturday’s “both sides” statement, Trump condemned the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis, and Heyer responded by thanking the president for “denouncing those who promote violence and hatred.” The following day, he reverted to his “blame on both sides” view, even criticizing members of the “alt-left,” though he called Heyer “truly special” on Twitter.
But Bro told GMA that, after seeing Trump’s news conference, she’s not interested in his apology. “You can’t wash this one away by shaking my hand and saying, ‘I’m sorry,'” she said. “I’m not forgiving for that.”
When prompted for a direct response to the president, Bro simply responded, “Think before you speak.”
Bro honored her daughter with a poignant speech during Heyer’s funeral. “I think the reason that what happened to Heather has struck a chord is because we know that what she did is achievable,” she said. “We don’t all have to die. We don’t all have to sacrifice our lives. They tried to kill my child to shut her up. Well, guess what? You just magnified her.”
The next day, Bro told NBC News that she’s received “death threats … because of what [she’s] doing right this second.” Despite the obstacles, she pledged to carry on Heyer’s legacy with the foundation she’s establishing in her memory. “I want people to start talking to one another,” she said. “Equality is … when you see a person not a label.”