The mother of Heather Heyer had no idea her daughter’s death would be part of Joe Biden’s presidential campaign launch ad. Susan Bro told CNN’s New Day on Friday that Biden had only called her Thursday evening, nearly 12 hours after the ad dropped. “That was the first time I had ever spoken to Joe Biden or anybody related to his office,” she said.
Bro says the two discussed grief, as Biden has lost a wife, a daughter, and son, and discussed the importance of “forming a foundation” to survive.
“I think he said something about ‘I would have reached out sooner, but I wasn’t sure how you’d feel,’” Bro said. “And I commented, ‘Yes, I noticed you didn’t mention her name, because you didn’t contact me.’ So we sort of acknowledged that much.”
Heyer, who had turned out to protest the white nationalists converging in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, was killed when one of those white nationalists drove his car into a crowd of people. She was not mentioned by name in the ad, but was referred to as a “brave young woman” who “lost her life.”
When asked if Bro would have preferred for Biden to mention her name, Bro replied, “not particularly.”
“The issue is about the hate, it’s not about Heather,” Bro said.
Bro denied rumors that she was “devastated” and “traumatized” about her daughter’s death being invoked into Biden’s ad, but she told Biden that the ad was likely traumatizing and triggering for others from Charlottesville.
Bro appeared resigned to the fact that Charlottesville—and, by default, her daughter’s death—will be used for political gain. But perhaps Biden’s invoking of Charlottesville would have come across as less opportunistic if he at least talked to Bro beforehand. Or at least visited Charlottesville.
“I don’t think we’ve seen him in town,” said Bro. “I don’t think he’s ever been here. Or maybe he has in the past. I don’t know.”