US President Donald Trump has maintained that "both sides" were to blame for the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia that left one anti-racist protester dead and 19 others injured.

In a press conference at Trump Tower in New York City on Tuesday (15 August), Trump insisted that he was not wrong in failing to condemn Nazi and white supremacist groups following the events in Charlottesville.

The president repeatedly criticised "alt-left" groups that he claimed were violent in their interactions with the white supremacist and Nazi groups that rallied to protest the removal of a Robert E Lee statue from a park.

"You had a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. And nobody wants to say that, but I'll say it right now," Trump said.

According to the New York Times, Trump asked which historical figure in American history would be attacked next. "This week, it is Robert E Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You have to ask yourself, where does it stop?"

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US President Donald Trump answers questions about his responses to the violence, injuries and deaths at the 'Unite the Right' rally in Charlottesville as he talks to the media in the lobby of Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York, on 15 August 2017REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

The president defended those that had gathered to protest the statue's removal. "I've condemned neo-Nazis. I've condemned many different groups. Not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch."

Trump's comments were applauded by white supremacist and former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke. "Thank you President Trump for your honesty & courage to tell the truth about #Charlottesville & condemn the leftist terrorists in BLM/Antifa," Duke tweeted.

White supremacist Richard Spencer echoed those thoughts, tweeting he was "proud" of Trump for "speaking the truth".

However, at least five businessmen have resigned from the president's business advisory council due to his remarks. Following Tuesday's press conference, AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka announced his and his deputy's resignation.

"We cannot sit on a council for a president who tolerates bigotry and domestic terrorism," they said in a statement.

"President Trump's remarks today repudiate his forced remarks yesterday about the KKK and neo-Nazis. We must resign on behalf of America's working people, who reject all notions of legitimacy of these bigoted groups."