The head of U.S. drugmaker Merck & Co. has resigned from a manufacturing advisory council to the Trump administration in an apparent protest of the president's failure to condemn in stronger terms the white supremacists who marched and waged violence in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend.
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Merck issued a statement Monday morning on Twitter from Chairman and Chief Executive Kenneth Frazier, saying, "America's leaders must honor our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy, which run counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal."
"As CEO of Merck and as a matter of personal conscience, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism," Mr. Frazier said in the statement.
A Merck spokeswoman said the company had no comment beyond Mr. Frazier's statement.
Almost an hour later, Mr. Trump posted on Twitter: "Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President's Manufacturing Council, he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!"
Mr. Trump is facing pressure to break with white-nationalist groups that largely supported his presidential campaign, after he said in response to the Charlottesville events that there was a display of hatred and violence by "many sides."
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Mr. Frazier was one of 28 business and union leaders the president named to an advisory council in January aimed at helping him boost U.S. manufacturing jobs. It has been known variously as the American Manufacturing Council and the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative, and is led by Dow Chemical Co. CEO Andrew Liveris.
Mr. Frazier is the latest CEO to quit advising the Trump administration in protest. In June, Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk said he would s top working with White House advisory groups after the president said the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris climate accord.
Mr. Frazier, a Merck veteran and its CEO since 2011, also has met with Mr. Trump at the White House, including a meeting of pharmaceutical CEOs in January when Mr. Trump told them drug prices were too high.
Write to Peter Loftus at email@example.com
Corrections & Amplifications
This article was corrected at 9:52 a.m. ET because the original version incorrectly stated that Kenneth Frazier was the second CEO to quit advising the Trump administration in protest in the eighth paragraph.
Merck & Co. Chief Executive Kenneth Frazier is the latest CEO to quit advising the Trump administration in protest. "Merck CEO Quits Trump Advisory Council After Charlottesville Violence," at 9:44 a.m. ET, incorrectly stated he was the second CEO to do so in the eighth paragraph. (Aug. 14, 2017)
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
August 14, 2017 10:06 ET (14:06 GMT)