Merck CEO resigns from Trump council over Charlottesville

Paterniano Del Favero
Agosto 16, 2017

Speaking from the White House on Monday, Trump finally denounced white supremacist beliefs by name and declared racism "evil".

Kevin Plank, chief executive of Under Armour Inc., said in statement the company issued on Twitter on Monday that "There is no place for racism or discrimination in this world".

But Liveris said Dow would "continue to work to strengthen the social and economic fabric of the communities where it operates - including supporting policies that help create employment opportunities in manufacturing and rebuild the American workforce". "However, Under Armour engages in innovation and sports, not politics". Plank's departure is a particularly sharp rebuke to Trump, after the Under Armour executive earlier this year came under fire for commenting that the president was a "real asset" for the country.

The defections were prompted by Trump's reaction to White supremacist rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend that killed one person and left almost 20 other victims injured after a auto rammed into counter-protesters.

"As CEO of Merck and as a matter of personal conscience, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremeism". Within minutes, Trump attacked Frazier, who is African American, for his decision and what the president called Merck's "ripoff drug prices". The rally, the biggest meeting of hate groups in decades, culminated in a vehicular terror attack that killed one antiracism counter-protester and injured almost two dozen. But Frazier's legal strategy led to a $4.85 billion settlement in 2007, allowing Merck to refocus on its pipeline of experimental medicines.

The head of a company based in Baltimore, much of Plank's contributions were to Maryland politicians. After Trump made his threat, a fourth CEO quit.

Frazier is not the first executive to resign from advisory councils serving Trump. Frazier's move also ends months of pharma industry silence on the topic of Trump.

Individually, at least one CEO, John Maraganore of Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, tweeted his support, saying he was "proud to stand with leaders like Ken Frazier".

They may share Trump's pro-business agenda, but find it hard to ignore his personal behavior, Ulrich said.

He had earlier said that he had "done all I can to advise directly to POTUS, through others in WH & via councils". "We must resign on behalf of America's working people, who reject all notion of legitimacy of those bigoted groups".

Many corporate leaders have faced a lose-lose scenario in which any choice involving politics can alienate customers, not to mention a USA president who has shown a willingness to personally negotiate government contracts.

"We've learned that as president, Mr. Trump is behaving exactly as he did as a candidate", Galston said.

"The AFL-CIO has unequivocally denounced the actions of bigoted domestic terrorists in Charlottesville and called on the president to do the same", Trumka said in a statement.

The council is made up of 25 executives of major private companies and gives advice to the president and the USA secretary of commerce.

In June, Disney CEO Robert Iger and Tesla CEO Elon Musk quit another White House business advisory council over Trump's decision to withdraw the USA from a global climate-change treaty, called the Paris Agreement. Musk also left the manufacturing council.

None of the executives made specific reference to President Trump's polarizing response to the Charlottesville protests.

Trump was scheduled to meet with Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray on Monday morning to discuss the Charlottesville incident, the White House said in a statement.

But the parade of departing leaders from the informal panel seems closely linked to how the president responded to events that led to the death of a counter-protester that opposed the white supremacists.

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