Donald Trump missed a "critical opportunity" to bring the US together, the chief executive of Walmart said, as the US President faces mounting criticism for his response to the violence that erupted at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, West Virginia.
"As we watched the events and the response from President Trump over the weekend, we too felt that he missed a critical opportunity to help bring our country together by unequivocally rejecting the appalling actions of white supremacists," Douglas McMillon, wrote in a letter to the company's 1.5 million employees.
On Saturday (12 August), anti-fascist and far right protesters clashed in the American university town and a female protester was subsequently killed when a car intentionally rammed into a crowd protesting against white supremacists.
James Alex Fields, 20, is under custody for being the alleged driver of the vehicle. There were several arrests and injuries in separate incidents.
However, Trump has failed to unequivocally condemn those responsible for the attacks, choosing instead that "both sides" were to blame for the violence. In a press conference in New York City on Tuesday (15 August), Trump insisted that he was not wrong in failing to condemn Nazi and white supremacist groups and repeatedly criticised "alt-left" groups that he claimed were violent in their interactions with the white supremacist and Nazi groups.
McMillon is the latest high-profile executive to directly criticise the US President for his response to the events in Charlottesville.
On Tuesday, Scott Paul, the president of business group the Alliance for American Manufacturing, became the fifth executive to quit the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative, claiming it was the "right thing to do".
That came as the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, America's biggest coalition of trade unions, also quit Trump's high-profile advisory council.
"It's clear that President Trump's manufacturing council was never an effective means for delivering real policy that lifts working families and his remarks today were the last straw," said Richard Trumka, the president of the labour group.
On the same day, technology giant Intel's chief executive officer Brian Krzanich joined pharmaceuticals firm Merck's boss Ken Frazier and Kevin Plank of sporting apparel firm Under Armour in quitting the council.
Frazier, one of corporate America's most prominent African-American industry captain, explained his decision was motivated by the need to make a stand.
"I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism," he tweeted.
"America's leaders must honour our fundamental views by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy, which run counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal."
However, the US President was typically dismissive of the resignations, claiming those who had walked away ran companies which relied on overseas manufacturing.
"They're not taking their job seriously as it pertains to this country," he said. "We want jobs, manufacturing in this country."
He directly criticised Frazier, saying he would now have "more time to lower rip-off drug prices".
Meanwhile, a number of major US firms, such as General Electric, Dow Chemical, Nucor, Whirlpool, International Paper, Campbell Soup, Dell, Boeing, Johnson & Johnson and Newell Brands have declined to quit.
"We must engage if we hope to change the world and those who lead it," Alex Gorsky, chairman and chief executive of Johnson & Johnson, said in a statement.
However, the raft of resignations will only serve to further fuel the impression Trump is increasingly growing distant from the US business community.
In February, former Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick left Trump's Business Advisory Council over the administration's stance on immigration.
Tesla's boss Elon Musk and Walt Disney CEO Robert Iger quit the President's Strategic and Policy Forum in June, after he announced the US' withdrawal from the Paris climate accord.