Merck CEO quits Trump’s manufacturing council over Charlottesville — and Trump immediately bashes him

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Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier is resigning from President Donald Trump’s manufacturing council.

“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,” Frazier said in a statement.

“As CEO of Merck and as a matter of personal conscience, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.”

Frazier is one of the few black CEOs of a major US corporation. He was the only black member of Trump’s manufacturing council.

The resignation came after a weekend of violence at a white nationalist and neo-Nazi protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, in which the president did not explicitly condemn the actions of white supremacists.

Trump almost immediately fired back at Frazier, turning the conversation toward drug pricing. 

Merck, a New Jersey-based pharmaceutical giant, is a known for making Gardasil, the vaccine designed to protect against the sexually transmitted infection HPV, as well as the drug credited with helping former President Jimmy Carter get cancer-free.

Frazier had served on the president’s American Manufacturing Council along with fellow pharmaceutical CEO Alex Gorsky of Johnson & Johnson.

Read the full statement below: