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, Va., not only on white nationalists but also on the protesters who opposed them.

General Motors CEO Mary Barra had been a part of Trump's Strategic and Policy Forum prior to its disbanding. In a statement, she said, "General Motors is about unity and inclusion and so am I." Despite policy disagreements in the past, the GM CEO remained a member of the committee to keep "a seat at an important table."

Barra added, "Recent events, particularly those in Charlottesville, Va., and its aftermath, require that we come together as a country and reinforce values and ideals that unite us -- tolerance, inclusion and diversity –- and speak against those which divide us – racism, bigotry and any politics based on ethnicity."

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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