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Merck & Co. (MRK) CEO Resigns From President Trump's American Manufacturing Council by Tweet

8/14/2017 6:50:08 AM

Merck & Co. CEO Resigns From President Trump's American Manufacturing Council by Tweet August 14, 2017
By Alex Keown, Breaking News Staff

NEW YORK – Kenneth Frazier, chief executive officer of Merck & Co. (MRK), has resigned from a presidential manufacturing council following Donald Trump’s failure to adequately condemn white supremacists in the aftermath of the violence in Charlottesville, Va.

Frazier, who is one of the most high-profile African American business leaders in the United States, resigned from Trump’s President’s American Manufacturing Council. The council was formed in January by Trump as part of an effort to bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States, CNN reported.

“Our country’s strength stems from its diversity and the contributions made by men and women of different faiths, races, sexual orientations and political beliefs. America’s leaders must honor our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy, which runs counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal,” Frazier said in his announcement. “As CEO of Merck and as a matter of personal consequence, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.”

Frazier did not specifically mention the violence in Charlottesville, but it was clear what he was referencing in his statement.

His announcement was quickly shared across social media by the company. It was also just as quickly denounced by Trump. Using his Twitter account Trump quickly criticized Frazier and the practices of Merck.

“Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President’s Manufacturing Council, he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!,” Trump tweeted.
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Trump’s condemnation of Frazier was swift, but the president is still facing criticism that his denunciation of the white supremacists, neo-Nazis and white nationalists who clashed with counter-protestors at the Unite the Right rally in Virginia that left many injured and one dead, has not been swift enough. In his statements following the death of a counter-protestor who was killed after a car driven by a white supremacist, Trump did not single out the racist organizations, but criticized the violence “from many sides.”

On Friday, the supremacists and neo-Nazis carried torches and marched through the University of Virginia campus shouting racist slogans. On Saturday, the supremacists and white nationalists violently clashed with counter protestors. One of the men marching with the supremacists group, 20-year-old James Alex Fields of Maumee, Ohio, allegedly drove his car into a group of counter-protestors killing a 32-year-old woman and injuring approximately 19 others. Fields was charged with second-degree murder, malicious wounding and failure to stop in an accident that resulted in death, CNN reported.

Last month, Frazier appeared at the White House with Trump following a deal between Merck (MRK), Pfizer (PFE) and Corning that is expected to create up to 1,000 new jobs. The companies are working together to develop Valor Glass, a product that is expected to improve drug manufacturing and safety. In a statement released at the time, Frazier said he was proud of the development of Valor Glass and said Merck plans to “convert several injectable products to this exceptional new glass packaging solution, pending appropriate regulatory approvals.”

Noted entrepreneur Elon Musk, who earlier this year launched a biotech startup called Neuralink, also stepped down from a presidential council following Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, CNN noted.

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