“They capitalize on whatever situation is handy.
Susan Bro, the mother of a woman killed during the 2017 “Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville, spoke out in an interview released Thursday after former Vice President Joe Biden invoked her daughter’s death in a video officially launching his 2020 campaign.
Bro told The Daily Beast she wasn’t surprised Biden failed to reach out to say he would be using the death of her daughter, 32-year-old Heather Heyer, as a talking point in the video.
“Most people do that sort of thing. They capitalize on whatever situation is handy. He didn’t reach out to me, and didn’t mention her by name specifically, and he probably knew we don’t endorse candidates,” she said.
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“It’s been almost two years since Heather died,” Bro said. “I’m moving forward. I still grieve for my daughter. But I have a realistic understanding that this was a public event, and people will use it however it suits them. It’s just a fact of life.”
She said she is still waiting to hear the rest of Biden’s platform and that his announcement only tells her “where he stands on one issue.”
“I’ve seen that footage a lot lately for other reasons,” Bro said. “It was like, ‘Here we go again.’ I am told by other reporters those who were there at the time have been traumatized by seeing it again. I’ve not spoken to them personally.”
Awakening to the fanfare over Biden’s video “was a little annoying” for Bro, who said it reminded her of press turning up at her home the morning after her daughter died.
Biden’s campaign launch video featured an incendiary attack on comments made by President Donald Trump as well as footage from Charlottesville, which showed images of Confederate flags and swastikas, as well as men chanting “Jews will not replace us.”
“We saw Klansmen and white supremacists and neo-Nazis come out in the open,” Biden said in reference to the “Unite the Right” rally. “Their crazed faces illuminated by torches, veins bulging and baring the fangs of racism, chanting the same anti-Semitic bile heard across Europe in the ’30s.”
Biden went on in the video to condemn Trump’s remarks during a press conference in the wake of the incident.
“He said there were, quote, ‘Some very fine people on both sides,’” said Biden. “Very fine people on both sides? With those words the president of the United States assigned a moral equivalence between those spreading hate and those with the courage to stand against it and in that moment I knew the threat to this nation was unlike any other I’d seen in my lifetime.”
Trump’s comments sparked outrage from liberals, major media outlets and even some members of his own party.
Conservatives have pushed back, however, arguing that Trump’s remarks were taken out of context, that he explicitly condemned white supremacists and that his comment about “fine people on both sides” was directed at right-leaning rally attendees who were protesting the removal of Confederate statues.
“I’ve condemned neo-Nazis. I’ve condemned many different groups. But not all of [the people at the rally] were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists, by any stretch. Those people were also there because they wanted to protest the taking down of a statue, Robert E. Lee,” Trump told reporters in 2017.
“You had people, and I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally. But you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists,” Trump added.
“If you look, they were people protesting very quietly the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee. I’m sure in that group there were some bad ones,” he said later.
Trump also condemned anti-fa protesters at the event saying, “Well, I do think there’s blame — yes, I think there’s blame on both sides.”
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- Rep. Joe Biden: Screen grab