Trump disbands business councils after CEOs exit in protest

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK, Aug 16 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump disbanded two high-profile business advisory councils on Wednesday after corporate CEOs quit in protest at his remarks blaming violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, not only on white nationalists but also on the protesters who opposed them.

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 paralyzed his policy aims.

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.

RELATED: Reactions to Trump's Aug. 15 press conference

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Reactions to President Trump's remarks on Aug. 15
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Reactions to President Trump's remarks on Aug. 15
We must be clear. White supremacy is repulsive. This bigotry is counter to all this country stands for. There can be no moral ambiguity.
Race-based supremacy movements have no place in our melting pot culture. #Charlottesville
No, not the same. One side is racist, bigoted, Nazi. The other opposes racism and bigotry. Morally different universes.
I haven't seen anything that crazy since Tyson bit Holyfield @realDonaldTrump
As a Jew, as an American, as a human, words cannot express my disgust and disappointment. This is not my President.
Thank you President Trump for your honesty & courage to tell the truth about #Charlottesville & condemn the leftist… https://t.co/7LxWB0FaWi
Let's get real. https://t.co/vM8gJ8lWrc
Good time to re-up https://t.co/RZ24UhKtDw
Mr. President,you can't allow #WhiteSupremacists to share only part of blame.They support idea which cost nation & world so much pain 5/6
Our full statement on @POTUS' racist and Antisemitic fright-show news conference just now: https://t.co/EDvKwS2TeJ
President @realDonaldTrump once again denounced hate today. The GOP stands behind his message of love and inclusiveness!
Trump:"George Washington was a slave owner…so will George Washington now lose his status…how about Thomas Jefferson" #Charlottesville
Blaming "both sides" for #Charlottesville?! No. Back to relativism when dealing with KKK, Nazi sympathizers, white supremacists? Just no.
Mr. President, there is only one side: AGAINST white supremacists, neo-Nazis, anti-Semites & the KKK. They have no place in America or GOP.
The president just erased yesterday's speech and is now back to Saturday's position on Charlottesville. Unbelievable.
"Very fine people" do not participate in rallies with groups chanting racist and anti-Semitic slogans and displaying vile symbols of hate.
So, there you have it. Trump defends the Confederacy.
This press conference is a train wreck. Trump is defending the alt-right & Confederate statues. Doubles down & blames "both sides" #Shame
Trump: "What about the alt-left? The alt-left" was responsible for some of the violence in Charlottesville. "Nobody wants to say that."
Trump: Raising wages will help improve race relations. #trump
Takeaways from Trump's comments now: 1. There is blame on both sides 2. He hasn't called the victim's family 3. He owns a very large winery
Trump:"[People protesting white supremacists] came without a permit and attacked that group [white supremacists]. Bad people on both sides."
"We should never hesitate to call out hate. Whenever and wherever we see it." -OGH https://t.co/Zy2YaJwFlV… https://t.co/yncx1VPbER
George Washington is to Robert E. Lee as Barack Obama is to Donald J. Trump
Trump's crime today was not lying enough.
Trump dropped that "George Washington had slaves" reveal like he really had some good tea congrats on passing third grade
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"If you have some high-profile individuals leaving, you may have a whole host of high-profile individuals leaving," said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

McConnell, who last week drew Trump's ire over the Senate's failure to pass health care 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.

RELATED: Scenes from Charlottesville

19 PHOTOS
White nationalist protesters lead 'Nazi-esque' rally in Charlottesville
See Gallery
White nationalist protesters lead 'Nazi-esque' rally in Charlottesville
Riot police protect members of the Ku Klux Klan from counter-protesters as they arrive to rally in opposition to city proposals to remove or make changes to Confederate monuments in Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S. July 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Members of the Ku Klux Klan rally in support of Confederate monuments in Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S. July 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Protesters direct obscene gestures towards members of the Ku Klux Klan, who are rallying in support of Confederate monuments, in Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S. July 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TEMPLATE OUT
Counter-protesters shout at members of the Ku Klux Klan, who are rallying in opposition to city proposals to remove or make changes to Confederate monuments, in Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S. July 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TEMPLATE OUT
Members of the Ku Klux Klan face counter-protesters as they rally in support of Confederate monuments in Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S. July 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Members of the Ku Klux Klan rally in opposition to city proposals to remove or make changes to Confederate monuments in Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S. July 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
A counter-protester is detained as members of the Ku Klux Klan rally in opposition to city proposals to remove or make changes to Confederate monuments in Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S. July 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Police detain a counter-protester during the aftermath of a rally by members of the Ku Klux Klan in support of Confederate monuments in Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S. July 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Counter-protesters lock arms in the middle of a street as police try to disperse them, after members of the Ku Klux Klan rallied in support of Confederate monuments in Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S. July 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Police, clergy and free speech observers protect a man wearing a Confederate flag as a cape after he was surrounded by counter-protesters prior to the arrival of members of the Ku Klux Klan to rally in opposition to city proposals to remove or make changes to Confederate monuments in Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S. July 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Members of the Ku Klux Klan rally in opposition to city proposals to remove or make changes to Confederate monuments in Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S. July 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Counter-protesters help a man affected by pepper gas as police try to disperse them, after members of the Ku Klux Klan rallied in support of Confederate monuments in Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S. July 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Police, clergy and free speech observers protect a man wearing a Confederate flag as a cape after he was surrounded by counter-protesters prior to the arrival of members of the Ku Klux Klan to rally in opposition to city proposals to remove or make changes Confederate monuments in Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S. July 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Riot police protect members of the Ku Klux Klan from counter-protesters as they arrive to rally in opposition to city proposals to remove or make changes to Confederate monuments in Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S. July 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TEMPLATE OUT
Counter-protesters lock arms in the middle of a street as police try to disperse them, after members of the Ku Klux Klan rallied in support of Confederate monuments in Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S. July 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Members of the Ku Klux Klan rally in opposition to city proposals to remove or make changes to Confederate monuments, such as the statue of General Stonewall Jackson above them, in Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S. July 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Members of the Ku Klux Klan, standing near a tomato and and an orange that had been thrown at them by counter-protesters, hold a sign as they rally in support of Confederate monuments in Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S. July 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
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In light of the developments, investors moved into the safety of U.S. Treasury debt, sending their yields, which move in the opposite direction to bond prices, to their lows of the day. The benchmark 10-year note yield was last down 2 basis points to yield 2.24 percent.

'BLAME ON BOTH SIDES'

Trump's remarks on Tuesday were a more vehement reprisal of his initial response to Saturday's bloodshed around a white nationalist rally.

In his comments at a heated news conference in New York on Tuesday, Trump said "there is blame on both sides" of the violence in Charlottesville, and that there were "very fine people" on both sides.

Kasich said there was no moral equivalency between the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and anybody else.

"This is terrible. The president of the United States needs to condemn these kind of hate groups," Kasich said on NBC's "Today" show. Failure to do so gave such organizations a sense of victory and license to hold more events elsewhere, said Kasich, one of Trump's rivals for the Republican nomination in the 2016 presidential election.

In London, British Prime Minister Theresa May offered a rare rebuke of Trump by one of the United States' closest foreign allies.

"I see no equivalence between those who propound fascist views and those who oppose them and I think it is important for all those in positions of responsibility to condemn far-right views wherever we hear them," May told reporters when asked to comment on Trump's stance.

May has been widely criticized by political opponents in Britain for her efforts to cultivate close ties with Trump since he took office in January.

Vice President Mike Pence, who is cutting short a trip to Latin America, said at a news conference in Chile that "I stand with the president and I stand by those words."

(Reporting by Jeff Mason and Susan Heavey; Additional reporting by Steve Holland, Makini Brice and Mohammad Zargham in Washington; Writing by Will Dunham; Editing by Frances Kerry and Howard Goller)

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