Mother of Charlottesville victim rebukes Trump’s efforts to reach out: "You can’t wash this one away by shaking my hand"

Susan Bro, Heather Heyer’s mom, won’t speak to Donald Trump

Published August 18, 2017 10:49AM (EDT)

Susan Bro   (AP/Joshua Replogle)
Susan Bro (AP/Joshua Replogle)

Susan Bro, who lost her daughter to a Nazi sympathizer in Charlottesville, doesn’t care what the president has to say. The mother of a woman killed in a car attack during last weekend’s white-power hate rally in Virginia wants nothing to do with the president.

Speaking on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Friday, Bro said she was appalled by President Donald Trump’s comments equating liberal protesters with the neo-Nazis, KKK members and other hate groups that marched in Charlottesville.

Bro’s daughter Heather Heyer was killed Saturday after a Nazi sympathizer rammed his car into a crowd protesting the “Unite the Right” marchers. Suspect James A. Fields, 20, was arrested shortly after the incident and faced charges of second-degree murder, hit and run and three counts of malicious wounding.

“I hadn’t really watched the news until last night, and I’m not talking to the president now,” she said. “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.”

Bro said the White House tried unsuccessfully to reach her numerous times Wednesday -- during her daughter's funeral. 

"At first I just missed his calls," she said. "The call -- the first call 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 that would have been on Wednesday, and I was home recovering from the exhaustion of the funeral and, so I thought well, I'll get to him later and then I had more meetings to establish her foundation, so I hadn't really watched the news until last night," Bro said.

During a press conference at Trump Tower on Tuesday, Trump not said “both sides” at the protest were responsible for the violence.

“You had a group on one side who was bad, and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent, and nobody wants to say that, but I’ll say it right now,” Trump said, adding there were “very fine people on both sides.”

Trump also criticized the counter-protesters for not having permits to congregate, unlike the white-hate marchers that had acquired permission to hold the rally in a park.

Bro viewed the comments as denigrating.

“You can’t wash this one away by shaking my hand and saying ‘I’m sorry,’” Bro said.

Trump’s comments sparked nationwide outrage. Lawmakers, high-ranking military officials, corporate executives and lawmakers from both major political parties denounced the racists and bigots that marched in Charlottesville, but few of them outside of the media and the Democratic Party were willing to denounce the president directly.

By Angelo Young

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Charlottesville Donald Trump Neo-nazis Susan Bro