Has Trump Called Heather Heyer's Family?
On Wednesday, less than one week after a white supremacist demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia resulted in the killing of an anti-racist counter-protester named Heather Heyer, a memorial was held for the late 32-year-old. Amid the remembrances and tributes to her memory and life, however, a question about how much official recognition her family's received remains ― namely, has President Trump called Heyer's family yet?
Bustle has reached out to the White House for comment, but the answer, so far as has been publicly reported, is no. On Tuesday, The Hill confirmed that Trump had not yet reached out to Heyer's family. The Charlottesville paralegal was slain when she ― along with a crowd of anti-racist demonstrators ― were plowed through by a car. The driver, identified in the press as 20-year-old James Fields, is currently in custody, and is facing a second-degree murder charge.
According to The Hill, as of yesterday Trump had not spoken to Heyer's family, although her mother did publicly thank him after his delayed and heavily criticized condemnation of neo-Nazis and white supremacists on Monday. He subsequently revised and in some senses rebuked that prepared statement in a rambling and inflammatory press conference on Tuesday, however, in which he again insisted that both the far-right protesters and the anti-racists were to blame for the violence that unfolded.
Trump did comment publicly on Heyer's memorial services on Wednesday morning, saying she'd be "long remembered by all."
Yamiche Alcindor of The New York Times also tweeted on Wednesday morning that Trump had not yet contacted Heyer's family. Trump's response to the Charlottesville incident has set off one of the most tumultuous and hotly criticized periods of his still relatively young presidency, owing to his failure to promptly and swiftly condemn the white supremacist and neo-Nazi protesters who descended on the city last weekend.
During his much-maligned Tuesday press conference, Trump commented briefly on Heyer and her mother, saying he'd heard the slain counter-protester was "an incredible young woman," per Vox.
In fact, the young woman — who I hear is a fantastic young woman and it was on NBC, her mother wrote me and said through I guess Twitter, social media, the nicest things. I very much appreciated that. I hear she was a fine, really actually an incredible young woman. Her mother, on Twitter, thanked me for what I said. Honestly, if the press were not fake and if it was honest, the press would have said what I said was very nice.
It's no surprise that people are hyper-scrutinizing of Trump's approach to addressing white supremacy. His 2016 campaign for president attracted solid and staunch support from many far-right American neo-Nazi organizations, and his failure last year to promptly and swiftly denounce former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke (although he subsequently condemned him under media pressure) has put his attitude towards his racist political supporters under intense scrutiny.
Trump, for his part, vehemently and quite passionately denied that all of the protestors at Friday night's torch-lit march in support of a monument to Confedcrate general Robert E. Lee were whit supremacists, and insisted that there were "good" people involved in the event too. You can look at the images embedded above and decide for yourself how plausible that sounds.