Kenneth Frazier, Merck and Co. Inc. chief executive officer, on Monday said he was taking a stand against intolerance and extremism by resigning from President Donald Trump’s American Manufacturing Council.
Frazier’s exit comes on the heels of a violent far-right protest Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia, in which one person died after a car slammed into a crowd of counter-protesters.
Frazier said Trump’s response to the deadly rally was lacking. Trump had said “many sides” were responsible for the violence. The remark sparked outcry from both Democrats and Republicans, who said he should have specifically denounced the far-right protesters.
“America’s leaders must honor our fundamental views by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy, which run counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal,” Frazier said in his resignation statement. “As CEO of Merck and as a matter of personal conscience, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.”
In response to Frazier’s resignation, Trump tweeted: “Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President’s Manufacturing Council, he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!”