Pharma CEO Publicly Resigns from Trump's Advisory Council with Scorching Statement

Paterniano Del Favero
Agosto 19, 2017

Trump immediately responded with a tweet that reinforced his reputation for pettiness.

Trump's tweet about Ken Frazier's resignation has Twitter up in arms.

But those potential benefits must be balanced by a growing expectation of companies to take a stand on social issues.

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

Frazier, an African-American who became CEO of Merck in 2011, was among the chief executives to join the President's American Manufacturing Council on January 27.

In all, 11 business leaders and CEOs have quit Trump's councils, in response to his controversial comments on race and white supremacy. Earlier this year, Plank received criticism for his open praise for Donald Trump; Under Armour's top athletes such as Steph Curry, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Misty Copeland, and more publicly voiced their disapproval to statements made by Plank.

"I have concluded that Johnson & Johnson has a responsibility to remain engaged, not as a way to support any specific political agenda, but as a way to represent the values of Our Credo as crucial public policy is discussed and developed", wrote Johnson & Johnson chief executive Alex Gorsky.

Frazier, who as a lawyer helped free a black death row inmate falsely accused of murder, and who now leads one of the country's most powerful drug companies, was first to quit the manufacturing council.

Trump's decision to disband the councils is a surprising retreat for the combative president, who has touted his business acumen, negotiating skills and economic policy as central strengths.

Paul tweeted, simply, that resigning was the "right thing to do", making no specific mention of the Charlottesville, Virginia, violence.

On Monday, Trump sought to end the backlash, delivering a statement calling racism "evil" and singling out hate groups, including the KKK and neo-Nazis who organized the rally. A woman was killed and 19 people injured when a vehicle rammed down a narrow street.

Plank's statement follows Merck CEO Ken Frazier's move earlier in the day to step down from the council "as a matter of personal conscience". Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and SpaceX, left a pair of Trump councils in June after the United States withdrew from the Paris Agreement regarding climate change. "We should honor - not attack - those who have stood up for equality and other cherished American values". But they also said they'd stay on the council so they could advise the government on ways to strengthen manufacturing.

The White House said Sunday that Trump's remarks condemning violence at a white nationalist rally were meant to include the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazi groups. Instead he said, "we condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides".

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