Donald Trump hits out at pharma boss after he quits President’s council over intolerance

Merck boss Kenneth C Frazier and Donald Trump

The chief executive of pharmaceuticals giant Merck has quit the President’s council on US manufacturing following the Charlottesville white supremacist riots – prompting an angry outburst from Donald Trump.

Neo-Nazis have been filmed waving swastika flags and chanting homophobic and fascist slogans including “f**k you faggots” at the Unite the Right marches.

Civil rights activist Heather Heyer was killed at the weekend when a car rammed into a crowd of counter-protesters in Virginia.

Merck statements

Merck statement

The images have prompted condemnation from many, including former Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who has called out “the incitement of hatred that got us here”.

President Donald Trump’s statement on Charlottesville has been criticised for pandering to the far-right groups who sparked the violence, where rather than explicitly call out white supremacism he instead criticised hatred, bigotry, and violence “on many sides – on many sides”.

Following this response, Merck chairman and chief executive officer Kenneth C Frazier today announced his resignation from the President’s American Manufacturing Council.

“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,” he said in a statement.

“America’s leaders must honour 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.”

Trump responded to the announcement within an hour of it being made public.

“Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President’s Manufacturing Council, he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!” said the President.

President Trump announced his manufacturing jobs initiative in January as part of his much-touted job creation agenda.

“President Trump plans to continually seek information and perspectives from a diverse range of business leaders, including those listed below and others, on how best to promote job growth and get Americans back to work again,” read the announcement at the time.

Donald Trump

Donald Trump (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

At that time, the full list of executives being consulted by the President were as follows:

Andrew Liveris (The Dow Chemical Company), Bill Brown (Harris Corporation), Michael Dell (Dell Technologies), John Ferriola (Nucor Corporation), Jeff Fettig (Whirlpool Corporation), Mark Fields, (Ford Motor Company)

Ken Frazier (Merck & Co., Inc), Alex Gorsky (Johnson & Johnson), Greg Hayes (United Technologies Corp.), Marilynn Hewson (Lockheed Martin Corporation), Jeff Immelt (General Electric), Jim Kamsickas (Dana Inc.)

Klaus Kleinfeld (Arconic), Brian Krzanich (Intel Corporation), Rich Kyle, (The Timken Company), Thea Lee (AFL-CIO), Mario Longhi (US Steel), Denise Morrison (Campbell Soup Company) Dennis Muilenburg, (Boeing), Elon Musk (Tesla)

Doug Oberhelman (Caterpillar), Scott Paul (Alliance for American Manufacturing), Kevin Plank, (Under Armour), Michael Polk (Newell Brands), Mark Sutton (International Paper), Inge Thulin (3M), Richard Tumka (AFL-CIO), Wendell Weeks (Corning)