Saturday's killing of Heather Heyer during Charlottesville's “Unite the Right” rally has only served one purpose: to magnify the victim's voice. Now, the victim's mother is also using the media attention that the horrific incident has been getting to send a stern message to President Donald Trump.
“I have not and now I will not” speak with Trump, Susan Bro told ABC News.
Saying that the White House tried to repeatedly contact her for the first time during her daughter's public memorial service on Wednesday, she added that after what the president said, she's just not willing to hear what Trump has to say.
After thanking Trump on Monday for offering “words of comfort and for denouncing those who promote violence and hatred,” Bro said something changed on Wednesday after she laid her child to rest.
The president has been under great scrutiny ever since he stated Tuesday that “both sides” had a part in the deadly aftermath of Saturday's incidents. That's the speech Bro referred to during her ABC interview.
“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 told ABC. "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 ... with the KKK and the white supremacists.”
To Bro, the president crossed a line by equating her child to members of the group that ignited the incident that led to Heyer's death.
“You can’t wash this one away by shaking my hand and saying, ‘I’m sorry.’ I’m not forgiving for that,” Bro said.
She also stated that she won't be talking to politicians simply because she doesn't want to be turned into a tool for a political goal.
“I understand that [Trump] wants to speak with me… and it's not that I'm trying to be calloused, it's that I have no interest in speaking to politicians just to hear them say, 'I'm sorry,'" she explained. "If I felt like that's all they wanted to say, that would be different, but I feel like I'm wanted to be used for political agendas and I'm resistant to that.”
When she was asked if there's anything she would like to tell the president after making it public that she won't be speaking to him, she said, “Think before you speak.”
Responding to Bro's comments, the White House simply said that “[o]ur thoughts and prayers continue to be with her and her family.”
When asked why she didn't let politicians speak at her daughter's funeral, she said that was her “only chance to say goodbye to my daughter. It was a private moment that I was willing to allow the world to view but this was my only chance to have my private time with my daughter.”
To Bro, all the messages of love and support she's been receiving have been important to help her get through this tragic loss. Still, she said, her daughter's passing left “a hole that's not going to be filled by anybody else.”
Hopefully, Bro will continue to find comfort in the messages of hope and peace. And perhaps now that she's been open about how the president has hurt the memory of her daughter, Trump may find it wiser to think through what he says in public next. At least, that's what we hope.
Banner and thumbnail image credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst