Aetna CEO latest to slam president's comments on Charlottesville - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Aetna CEO latest to slam president's comments on Charlottesville violence

Posted: Updated:
Aetna (WFSB) Aetna (WFSB)
President Trump commented on the violence in Charlottesville on Tuesday (WFSB) President Trump commented on the violence in Charlottesville on Tuesday (WFSB)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

Three days after violence erupted in Charlottesville, Va., President Donald Trump held a news conference that has been making headlines everywhere.

During the news conference on Tuesday, Trump blamed Saturday’s violence in Virginia on both sides of the conflict.

"I think there is blame on both sides," he said.

"What about the alt-left that came charging at, as you say, the alt-right, do they have any semblance of guilt?" Trump said. "What about the fact they came charging with clubs in hands, swinging clubs, do they have any problem, I think they do."

He also 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. nobody wants to say it, but I will say it right now."

These remarks come after violence erupted in Charlottesville between white supremacists and counter-protestors. A woman was killed and dozens were injured. 

On Wednesday evening, Eyewitness News obtained an internal memo from the Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini.

"I can’t help but comment on the current national dialogue surrounding the deplorable violence in Charlottesville. I strongly agree with the remarks of former Presidents George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush who stated: 'America must always reject racial bigotry, anti-Semitism, and hatred of all forms.' I am pleased that many other political leaders from both parties have expressed similarly strong statements – and I am ashamed of our President’s behavior and comments," Bertolini said in the memo. 

Bertolini went on to say "we all breathe the same air, we all want the same thing for our children’s future, and we all aspire for the pursuit of happiness and good health for our families and friends."

"We are not a country of hate, and we are all judged by our own god based on the compassion and humanity we show others.I hope that each of us takes time to discuss with our family and friends the responsibility we all share, every day, to live up to the values that have made our nation so great – those of tolerance and respect for others. We are a great nation because of our diversity which fosters sharing of ideas and experiences. Our country is not perfect, but it is more tolerant than any other nation I know. We can only remain great if we remain intolerant of hate. We as a company can only succeed in our mission to build a healthier world if we remain committed to these same values and behaviors. By doing so, each of us can reinforce the bonds of inclusion and tolerance that strengthen our company, our communities, and our nation," Bertolini said in the memo. 

Connecticut leaders reacted to his comments, with Senator Richard Blumenthal calling them “disgusting.”

"Donald Trump does not speak for the real America," Blumenthal said. "No fine people carry swastikas, burn torches or shout epithets and spew hatred." 

A series of Tweets were made by Blumenthal, saying:

  • Trump's repugnant comments mark a complete abdication of any semblance of moral leadership. DOJ must investigate & enforce laws stopping domestic terrorist attacks, civil rights conspiracy& hate crimes like we saw in #Charlottesville.
  • President's stunning remarks send a message of approval - not mere condoning - to violent hate groups.
  • No more dog whistle, now a megaphone used by the President to message approval for violent hate groups.
  • Donald Trump is not the real America. All Americans should condemn these disgusting, indefensible comments. Let us unite.

The latest fallout on Wednesday as members of the President's advisory panel started quitting, including Greg Hayes, the CEO of United Technologies based in East Hartford. That prompted the president to disband the panel completely.

"When our leadership refuses to say what this is. This is hate, this is anti-Semitism, this is anti-Muslim, queer, lesbian, transgender. This is hate and we have to stop hate,” said Gov. Dannel Malloy.

The chairman of the state Republican Party agrees that racism is not American value and that violence on any side is wrong, but JR Romano stops short of condemning the president.

"Donald Trump wasn't elected because he's articulate, he often times speaks plainly. I think in regards to this he was trying to express this problem we are having with extremism,” Romano said.

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro also took to Twitter saying “Trump's Charlottesville remarks reflect a moral failure & degrade the office of the Presidency. There is no room for ambiguity when it comes to bigotry.”

Senator Chris Murphy, who is walking across Connecticut this week, stopped to Tweet, saying "Just stopped on roadside to read @POTUS (President of the United States) remarks. I nearly threw up. An American President offering a defense of white supremacists. My God."

Copyright 2017 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.