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Both Bush presidents condemn racial bigotry after Trump's 'both sides' statement

President Donald Trump disbanded two business councils after CEOs began resigning from them.

George W. Bush Presidential Library Dedication - Dallas Former presidents George HW Bush, left, and George W Bush. Fort Worth Star-Telegram via PA Images Fort Worth Star-Telegram via PA Images

FORMER US LEADERS George HW Bush and George W Bush have issued a joint statement condemning racial bigotry and anti-Semitism, in what appears to be a veiled rebuke of President Donald Trump.

Trump sparked a political firestorm yesterday when he said counter-protesters appeared to be equally to blame for violence over the weekend at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

It’s prompted leaders across the world, including Theresa May, Simon Coveney and the business leaders of huge US companies to openly condemn racism and bigotry in all its forms.

Now, two former US presidents have added their outrage to the mix.

In a statement issued from Kennebunkport, Maine, where they have a family home, the father-son former presidents said “America must always reject racial bigotry, anti-Semitism, and hatred in all forms”.

They made reference to Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence whose main home, Monticello, is in Charlottesville.

“As we pray for Charlottesville, we are reminded of the fundamental truths recorded by that city’s most prominent citizen in the Declaration of Independence: we are all created equal and endowed by our creator with unalienable rights,” they said.

We know these truths to be everlasting because we have seen the decency and greatness of our country.

The joint statement did not mention Trump by name.

Confederate Monument Protest Artist Sam Welty creates a chalk mural of Heather Heyer on the Downtown Mall during her memorial service today. Julia Rendleman via PA Images Julia Rendleman via PA Images

32-year-old Heather Heyer was killed and 19 other people injured in Charlottesville on Saturday when a suspected white supremacist drove his car into a group of counter-protesters.

Trump, in his remarks yesterday, appeared to put the white nationalists and counter-demonstrators on equal moral ground.

“I think there is blame on both sides,” Trump said. “You had a group on one side that was bad, and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent.”

His remarks have drawn widespread criticism including from members of his Republican Party.

Donald Trump state visit Matt Cardy via PA Images Matt Cardy via PA Images

President Donald Trump has announced that he’s scrapping two business advisory councils in the wake of several high-profile resignations in protest over his comments on a white supremacist rally in Virginia that turned violent.

“Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both. Thank you all!” Trump said on Twitter.

Tweet by @Donald J. Trump Donald J. Trump / Twitter Donald J. Trump / Twitter / Twitter

The CEOs of Merck, Intel and Under Armour were among those who quit the forums following Trump’s comments about Saturday’s violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

© AFP 2017

Read: ‘Making hate fashionable again’: Trump under fire for saying blame for Charlottesville lies on both sides

Read: String of big business CEOs step down from Trump’s advisory council in wake of Charlottesville

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