Merck's chief executive, Kenneth Frazier, resigned from American Manufacturing Council led by Donald Trump in a strong rebuke to the U.S. president over his response to a violent white nationalist rally in Virginia. Fred Katayama reports.
Merck's chief executive, Kenneth Frazier, quit president Donald Trump's American Manufacturing Council Monday. He took that action over Trump's response to a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend. Frazier wrote in a post on Merck's Twitter account: "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." During the rally, a Nazi sympathizer drove a car into a crowd, killing one person and injuring 19 others. Overall, more than 30 people were injured in separate incidents. Two state police officers died in a helicopter crash after helping quell the unrest. Frazier's departure added to the many voices from both parties, Democrats and Republicans, saying that Trump waited too long to address the violence. They also blasted him for not condemning white-supremacist marchers widely seen as responsible for brutality. Trump responded to Frazier's resignation tweet on the same medium an hour later. He said: "Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President's Manufacturing Council, he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!" Under pressure to take a stronger stand against right-wing extremists, the White House issued a statement on Sunday. It said Trump condemns "all forms of violence, bigotry and hatred, and, of course, that includes white supremacists, Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazi, and all extremist groups."