Donald Trump's news conferences continues to echo across America

The president takes a defiant stand, blaming "both sides," giving a voice to white nationalists.
5:03 | 08/16/17

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Transcript for Donald Trump's news conferences continues to echo across America
Wednesday night, and we begin tonight with the backlash against president trump. Several of the nation's top CEOs from companies you will know, Campbell soup, Pepsi, Walmart, bailing on the president's business councils. It comes amid the president's response to charlottesville and his newest comment saying both sides should share the blame. That there were very fine people on both sides. And tonight, many studying the president's chief of staff, general John Kelly's face, appearing to wince as president trump delivered those words. Was the white house blindsided on this? ABC's Mary Bruce leading us off. Reporter: He sold himself as the businessman president, able to harness the power of corporate America, but tonight, some of the nation's top executives are turning their backs on president trump. The tipping point, his comments suggesting the white supremacists in charlottesville should share the blame with the protesters opposing them. Mr. President, are you putting what you are calling the alt left and white supremacists on the same moral plain? I am not putting anybody on a moral plane. What I'm saying is this. You had a group on one side and you had a group on the other, and they came at each other with clubs and it was vicious and horrible. I think there is blame on both sides. You look at both sides -- I think there is blame on both sides. Reporter: The president going so far as to defend some of those who took part in the white nationalist rally. Excuse me. They didn't put themselves down as neo-nazis. You had some very bad people in that group. You also had people that were very fine people on both sides. Reporter: Those comments did not sit well with many CEOs on the president's business advisory councils. Already, some were jumping ship. The first, Merck CEO Ken Frazier, the only African-American on trump's manufacturing council. Monday, Frazier quit the council, saying "America's leaders must honor our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred." The president fired back, tweeting Frazier, will have more time to lower ripoff drug prices. Why do you think CEOs are leaving your manufacturing council? Because they aren't taking their job seriously as it pertains to this country. Reporter: On Twitter he added "For every CEO that drops out of the manufacturing council, I have many to take their place. But that didn't stop the stampede of departures. Today, the CEO of Campbell soup leaving, saying "Racism and murder are unequivocally reprehensible and are not morally equivalent to anything else that happened in charlottesville. I believe the president should have been and still needs to be unambiguous on that point." And now a key white house advisory council of powerhouse CEOs, voting to disband, powerhouses like Pepsi, GE, IBM and Walmart. In a letter to employees, JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon writing "I strongly disagree with president trump's reaction to the events that took place in charlottesville over the past several days. Racism, intolerance and violence are always wrong." The CEOs called the white house to inform the president of their decision and he quickly put out this tweet -- "Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the manufacturing council & strategy & policy forum, I am ending both. Thank you all!" The saga is taking a toll on the white house. Among some in the president's inner circle a sense of exasperation. The president's new chief of staff, John Kelly, spotted at that combative off-the-cuff press conference, staring down at the floor, at times seeming to wince. The political fallout has been swift. Republican senator Lindsey graham saying the president took "A step backward" adding, "Your words are dividing Americans, not healing them." Marco Rubio tweeting the white supremacy groups will see being assigned only 50% of blame as a win. We cannot allow this old evil to be resurrected. And today, a joint statement from presidents bush 41 and 43. Stopping short of naming president trump, but making it clear "America must always reject racial bigotry, anti-semitism, and hatred in all forms." The chair of the Republican national committee now out on damage control. On "Gma," David pressing her O a key campaign pledge. As you know, during the the campaign, then-candidate Donald Trump repeatedly made a promise that he would be able to unite the nation better than Hillary Clinton. He said he was the unifier. I want you to listen to this. I think the thing that will surprise people, I'll be a unifier. I think I'll bring people together and that includes blacks and whites and everything. I think people will come together. Do you think what he said yesterday unified the American people? I think condemning white supremacy and kkk and neo-naziism was the first steppe. Sharing the blame is what he said yesterday. I don't think comparing blame works in this situation and she had her own message to white supremacists, the Republican party doesn't support you and doesn't want your vote. She was very clear on that. Mary Bruce with us live tonight, and Mary, as you reported, the president was quick on Twitter to frame all of the CEOs leaving

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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