What Has Trump Said About Heather Heyer? His Charlottesville Priorities Lie Elsewhere
Over the past few days, the country has been immersed in a crisis. There were protests, violence, deaths, and the president of the United States waffling over what to say about it. He blamed turmoil on "many sides" involved, then backtracked and condemned white supremacy, and then backtracked again and blamed part of the violence on the "alt-left." But there's something everyone must remember in the midst of all this back and forth: A woman died. She was killed by a white supremacist who drove his car into a crowd of anti-racist protesters. Her name was Heather Heyer, and Trump needs to remember her.
As Abby D. Phillip, a Washington Post reporter and CNN political analyst, pointed out on Twitter, Trump has not made a phone call to Heyer's family to express his condolences. Heyer and her memory — and what she was fighting for — cannot be lost in all of this uproar. And she certainly shouldn't be forgotten by the president, whose job it is to protect the American people.
Even in Trump's second attempt at giving a statement on the violence in Charlottesville, he did not even mention Heyer's name, just saying "one innocent American" had been killed. Heyer's mother, Susan Bro, did thank Trump on Monday after he denounced white supremacists in his statement, saying, "Thank you, President Trump, for those words of comfort and for denouncing those who promote violence and hatred." But a day later, he took those words back and instead equated Heyers with the white supremacist who killed her.
In his Tuesday statement, he said that the "alt-left" (which is not a thing) was just as much to blame in the Charlottesville violence as the white nationalists who gathered to express their hatred of nonwhite people. "According to Trump, those who protest white supremacy are just as bad as the white supremacists who murdered Heather Heyer," a woman named Caroline added on Twitter.
Daniel Dale, a reporter at the Toronto Star, also pointed out the difference in Trump's reaction to Heyer's death vs. the cases of Kate Steinle and other Americans killed by undocumented immigrants. For them he penned emotional and visceral statements, describing in detail the lives and deaths of the victims. For Heyer, two simple sentences.
No matter which way you look at it, this is distressing. The president of the United States is playing coy with white supremacists. If you feel enraged or at a loss, here's how you can argue that the violence at Charlottesville is unacceptable, how you can help the Charlottesville victims, a list of anti-racism organizations or organizations that fight the alt-right you can support, and a document put together by a group of random people on the internet that lists dozens of things you can do.
Just do something.