Merck CEO Ken Frazier resigned earlier today from President Trump’s American Manufacturing Council, a group of more than two dozen corporate leaders who have been tapped to advise the president on his “job creation agenda.”
Frazier’s resignation comes in the wake of a violent rally by neo-Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday, where a 32-year-old woman was killed by a home-grown terrorist who drove his car into a crowd of counter-protestors—an act of hate-filled savagery that President Trump declined to squarely condemn. Trump instead laid the blame for the bigotry and murderous violence “on many sides.”
No other prominent Republican and Democratic leader equivocated in such a way. Virtually every Republican and Democratic leader—other than the President—denounced the attack for what it was: an act of terror.
“America’s leaders must honor our fundamental values,” said Frazier in announcing his resignation, “by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy, which run counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal.”
Trump had previously celebrated the support of the Merck CEO, one of the few African-American chief executives of a Fortune 500 company, in his manufacturing initiative. The president had sat Frazier next to him at the first gathering of his advisory council in February.
But after Frazier’s announcement this morning, the president shot back with an angry tweet: “Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President’s Manufacturing Council, he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!”
Merck’s stock promptly shot up nearly 1 percent in early morning trading.
Frazier’s full statement is below.
This essay appears in today’s edition of the Fortune Brainstorm Health Daily. Get it delivered straight to your inbox.