The mother of Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old killed when a car ploughed into a crowd of counter-protesters at a white nationalist rally in Virginia last weekend, says the first call she received from the White House came during her daughter’s funeral.
After the President initially gave in to widespread criticism about his response to the violence and publicly denounced white supremacist groups from the White House on Monday, Bro thanked Trump in a heartfelt statement for “those words of comfort and for denouncing those who promote violence and hatred”.
She told ABC News on Thursday that she had heard from Trump’s press secretary and others requesting time for the president to speak with her, but was unsure as she was extremely busy and reluctant to be used as a political pawn.
But she told Good Morning America host Robin Roberts on Friday that after seeing news coverage of Trump’s extraordinary press conference on Tuesday night, she had changed her mind.
“I hadn’t really watched the news until last night and I’m not talking to the president now, I’m sorry, after what he said about my child”, Bro explained. “I saw an actual clip of him at a press conference equating the protesters with the KKK and the white supremacists”.
“You can’t wash this one away by shaking my hand and saying, ‘I’m sorry’”, Bro continued.
“I’m not forgiving for that”.
Asked if there was anything she would like to say to Trump herself, Bro replied “Think before you speak”.
Trump has faced overwhelming criticism from across the political spectrum and the globe for his response to Saturday’s “Unite the Right” rally, which was attended by white supremacists, neo-Nazis and members of the Ku Klux Klan, and turned deadly after a car ran over counter-protesters, killing Heyer and injuring 19 others.
In the now-infamous press conference on Tuesday in Trump Tower, the President reiterated his earlier claim that “both sides” were to blame for the violence.
Bro told MSNBC on Thursday that “whether there was violence on both sides or not is irrelevant”.
“The guy mowed my daughter down and, sorry, that’s not excusable”.
Bro also said that alongside repeated calls from the White House requesting a phone call with the Preisdent, she had received some far more unwanted correspondence.
“I’ve had death threats already … because of what I’m doing right this second”, Bro said.
At the memorial service for her daughter on Wednesday, which was attended by more than 1,000 people but — at Bro’s request — no politicians, the grieving mother was defiant as she urged the emotional crowd to carry on Heather’s legacy by channeling “anger into righteous action”.