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Joe Biden did not call Susan Bro, the mother of Heather Heyer, before he invoked Heyer’s death in his 2020 presidential campaign-launch video. But he did call her after the fact.
Speaking Friday morning on CNN, Bro said she'd heard nothing about the reference to her daughter — who was killed in a car attack on a crowd of peaceful counterprotesters at the Unite Right rally in Virginia in August 2017 — in Biden’s campaign announcement video until the video went live and journalists began calling her.
“They were met by a courageous group of Americans, and a violent clash ensued. And a brave young woman lost her life,” Biden said in the video announcement. “And that’s when we heard the words from the president of the United States that stunned the world and shocked the conscience of this nation. He said there were ‘some very fine people on both sides.’ Very fine people on both sides?”
Bro pondered whether Biden had ever actually been to Charlottesville, a location he was so ready to use for political reasons.
“I don’t think we’ve seen him in town,” Bro said of Biden. “It was just sort of a feeling of, ‘Well, here we go again.’”
Bro said she and Biden discussed bereavement (Biden has lived through the death of a wife, his daughter, and his son), but she also said that she warned Biden his video may have hurt some people who protested alongside Heather against the neo-Nazis who marched on Charlottesville in 2017.
“I think he said something about, ‘I would have reached out sooner, but I wasn’t sure how you would feel; and I commented, ‘Yes, I noticed you didn’t mention her name because you hadn’t contacted me,’” Bro said. “I think it was traumatizing for some other people to suddenly have that thrown up at them on the screen, and I did mention that to him.”
The Biden campaign released the Charlottesville video early Thursday; Bro said on Facebook that Biden called her at 4:30 p.m. that afternoon.
Cover: Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden arrives at a rally organized by UFCW Union members to support Stop and Shop employees on strike throughout the region at the Stop and Shop in Dorchester, Massachusetts, on April 18, 2019. (Photo: JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP/Getty Images)