Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini in a hearing televised by C-Span. C-Span
Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini in a hearing televised by C-SPAN. C-Span

Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini has joined a number of corporate leaders distancing themselves from President Donald J. Trump in the wake of the events in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Late Wednesday afternoon, Bertolini sent a memo to employees saying he is “ashamed of our president’s behavior and comments.”

The memo, first obtained by CNBC, was confirmed by an Aetna spokesman.

“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,’” Bertolini wrote. “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.”

“We can only remain great if we remain intolerant of hate,” he added.

Bertolini’s commented as Trump’s relationship with the business community took a rocky turn after the president’s response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend. White supremacists and counter-protesters clashed in the streets of the quaint college town, leaving one dead and dozens injured.

Trump said Tuesday “both sides” deserved blame for the chaos.

Numerous business leaders have condemned the president’s comments. Several CEOs – including United Technologies Corp. CEO Greg Hayes – resigned from the president’s two business panels, leading Trump to disband them earlier Wednesday.

Kyle is CT Mirror's Director of Membership and Digital Innovation. His newsroom experience includes roles as a freelance reporter and then a full-time general assignment reporter at CT Mirror and as State Capitol beat writer for UConn's Daily Campus. He graduated from UConn with a bachelor's degree in journalism in 2017.

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