U.S. President Donald Trump disbanded two high-profile business advisory panels on Wednesday after corporate CEOs quit in protest over his remarks on the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Trump, not only blamed white nationalists and supremacists, but also blamed the protesters who opposed them, a stand for which he was heavily criticised at the weekend.
A parade of prominent Republicans and U.S. ally Britain rebuked Trump after his Tuesday comments on Saturday’s bloodshed further enveloped his seven-month-old presidency in controversy and paralysed his agenda.
Trump announced the break-up of the advisory councils after 3M Co’s Inge Thulin became the latest of several chief executives to leave Trump’s American Manufacturing Council, and the president’s Strategic and Policy Forum broke up of its own will.
“Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Ohio Governor John Kasich, Senator Lindsey Graham, former U.S. presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush and others took aim at the remarks by Trump that worsened deep divisions within a Republican Party that controls both chambers of Congress and the White House.
A former senior Trump administration official raised the prospect that some White House officials could quit because of Trump’s comments.
McConnell, who last week drew Trump’s ire over the Senate’s failure to pass healthcare legislation, issued a statement saying “messages of hate and bigotry” from white supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazi groups should not be welcome anywhere in the United States. McConnell’s statement did not mention Trump by name.
“We can have no tolerance for an ideology of racial hatred. There are no good neo-Nazis, and those who espouse their views are not supporters of American ideals and freedoms. We all have a responsibility to stand against hate and violence, wherever it raises its evil head,” McConnell said.
U.S. stocks had been trading near the day’s high when the latest trickle of CEO resignations emerged in early afternoon and the market weakened substantially.