Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier is resigning from President Donald Trump’s manufacturing council.
“America’s leaders must honor 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 on Monday.
He added: “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 and was the only black member of the council.
The resignation came after a weekend of violence at a white-nationalist and neo-Nazi protest in Charlottesville, Virginia. The president did not explicitly condemn white supremacists.
Trump almost immediately fired back at Frazier, turning the conversation toward drug pricing.
Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President's Manufacturing Council,he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 14, 2017
Merck, a pharmaceutical giant based in New Jersey, is known for making Gardasil, the vaccine designed to protect against the sexually transmitted infection HPV, as well as a drug credited with helping former President Jimmy Carter get cancer-free.
Frazier had served on the president’s American Manufacturing Council with fellow pharmaceutical CEO Alex Gorsky of Johnson & Johnson.
Read Frazier’s statement:
— Merck (@Merck) August 14, 2017