After numerous CEOs left in protest at the White House's handling of violence in Charlottesville, US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday (16 August) that he would be disbanding two advisory groups made up of business leaders.
"Rather than putting pressure on the business people of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both." Trump said in a tweet, before adding: "Thank you all!"
Trump has been coming under increasing criticism over his comments in the wake of violence surrounding white supremacist rallies in the city of Charlottesville, Virginia.
After originally blaming violence "on both sides", Trump made a statement condemning white supremacist groups. Then on Tuesday (15 August), Trump used a press conference to again blame on both sides.
"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," the president said.
Trump also weighed in on the taking down of statues to key confederate figures taking place in cities across the US. "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?"
Charlottesville, the home of the University of Virginia, was racked by violence after white nationalist groups gathered to protest the planned removal of a statue to confederate general Robert E. Lee and others organised to demonstrate against them.
One woman was killed and 19 injured with a car driven by a suspected white supremacist plowed into a group of counter protesters. James Fields, accused of being the driver, was denied bail by a court on Monday.