“You can’t wash this one away by shaking my hand and saying I’m sorry,” Bro said. “I’m not forgiving for that.”
Bro’s comments marked a sharp, personal response to Trump’s statement that “both sides” were to blame for the violence in Charlottesville that erupted when counterprotesters confronted white supremacists and neo-Nazis who had marched there for a rally.
Trump said there were “two sides to a story” and said of the counter-protesters: “Do they have any semblance of guilt? Do they have any problem? I think they do.”
In his public statements, Trump has also expressed kind words for Heyer, tweeting that she was “a truly special young woman.”
Bro said that she missed the first call from the White House because it apparently came during Heyer’s funeral on Wednesday, four days after the 32-year-old woman was killed when a car careened into her and other counter-protesters in Charlottesville. Federal officials say the crash may have been a terrorist attack as well as a hate crime.
Bro said “three more frantic messages from press secretaries” followed throughout the day Wednesday, but she did not immediately respond because she was recovering from the service.
It was not until Thursday night that Bro said she was able to actually watch the news and see a clip of Trump’s comments for herself.
“I’m not talking to the president now,” she said Friday. When asked what message she might have for Trump, Bro said: “Think before you speak.”
The White House did not respond to a request for comment Friday regarding Bro’s remarks.
“They tried to kill my child to shut her up, but guess what, you just magnified her,” Bro said during the service, prompting an ovation lasting nearly a minute and a half.
Trump has drawn intense criticism for his response to the chaos in Charlottesville. His first remarks, delivered Saturday after Heyer was killed, prompted a backlash when Trump denounced “hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides” but did not specifically single out white supremacists or neo-Nazis.
On Monday, after mounting push-back, Trump called out those groups by name, saying that “racism is evil and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs.” Bro released a statement that day thanking Trump for his “words of comfort and denouncing those who promote violence and hatred.”
However, a day later Trump returned to his declaration that “both sides” were to blame for the violence during a remarkable, combative news conference in New York that set off a surge in public condemnation. Trump has bristled at criticism of his response, lashing out at Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) on Thursday morning for issuing a statement disapproving of Trump’s comments.
During the same news conference, Trump also spoke positively about Heyer and thanked Bro for the statement she released about him.
He also excoriated James Alex Fields Jr., who police say plowed into Heyer and other activists on Saturday, assailing the man as “a disgrace to himself” and “a murderer.” Though Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said the attack fits the definition of domestic terrorism, Trump declined to call it terrorism when asked by a reporter.
The White House has not explained why officials waited four days before trying to connect Trump with Heyer’s relatives. In November, after a San Antonio police officer was shot and killed, Trump — then the president-elect — called his relatives the following day. Trump also met personally with the victims of an attack at Ohio State University carried out by a Somali refugee.
On Tuesday, Trump did not say whether he will travel to Charlottesville, answering a question about that by mentioning a winery bearing his name in the city. Trump was also asked when he would reach out to Heyer’s family, and Trump did not directly respond, instead thanking Bro again for her statement.
“Under the kind of stress that she is under and the heartache that she is under, I thought putting out that statement to me was really something I won’t forget,” he said.
This story, first posted at 9:23 a.m., has been updated.