The mother of the 32-year-old paralegal who was killed after being run over by an alleged white nationalist in Charlottesville, Va. on Saturday has thanked President Trump for denouncing neo-Nazis and white supremacists.
“Thank you, President Trump, for those words of comfort and for denouncing those who promote violence and hatred,” Heather Heyer’s mother, Susan Bro, said in a statement on Monday, just after Trump condemned Saturday’s violence.
Susan Bro, mother of Charlottesville attack victim Heather Heyer, thanks Pres. Trump for “denouncing those who promote violence and hatred” pic.twitter.com/E46OnwE5fW
— NBC News (@NBCNews) August 14, 2017
Heyer died after being struck by a vehicle driven by James A. Fields, a 20-year-old Nazi sympathizer from Maumee, Ohio.
Fields was seen on video plowing his 2010 Dodge Challenger into a crowd of people gathered to counter-protest a “Unite the Right” rally being held in downtown Charlottesville.
Thousands of white nationalist sympathizers gathered in Charlottesville to protest the planned removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. Violence broke out during the march between “Unite the Right” participants — some of who wore Nazi regalia — and anti-fascist counter-protesters.
Fields was arrested and charged with second-degree murder in Heyer’s death. At least 19 others were injured. Attorney General Jeff Sessions opened up a hate crime investigation of the incident on Sunday. The Justice Department is also looking into whether Fields was helped or egged on by others to mow down counter-protesters.
Trump’s remarks on Monday came as he faced heavy criticism for not directly calling out the white supremacists and neo-Nazis whose rally in Charlottesville precipitated Heyer’s death. He was blasted by critics on Saturday for decrying violence “on both sides” of the rally.
Trump was much more direct in his condemnation on Monday.
“Two days ago, a young American woman, Heather Heyer, was tragically killed. Her death fills us with grief, and we send her family our thoughts, our prayers, and our love,” Trump said Monday.
“Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans,” he continued.
Trump also sent condolences to Virginia State Troopers Jay Cullen and Burke Bates. They died after a helicopter in which they were riding to surveil the Charlottesville protests crashed.