On Monday, the CEO’s from Intel Corp, Merck & Co Inc and Under Armour Inc resigned from President Donald Trump’s American Manufacturing Council.
The chief executive of drugmaker Merck & Co, Kenneth Frazier, said he made the decision to leave the advisory council because of the president’s reaction following the violence between white supremacists and counter protesters in Charlottesville.
In his tweet announcing his resignation, Frazier said, “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. 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 Frazier’s tweet via twitter writing, “Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President’s Manufacturing Council, he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!” Later in the evening, Trump tweeted about Frazier’s company writing, “@Merck Pharma is a leader in higher & higher drug prices while at the same time taking jobs out of the U.S. Bring jobs back & LOWER PRICES!”
Lowering drug prices had been a major campaign promise for Trump, however the president has only recently made threatening and vague statements about the prices of drugs being to high. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, which represents the pharmaceutical industry and lobbies on its behalf in Congress, offered no statement of support for Frazier or comment on Trump’s tweets. President Trump is said to be finalizing an executive order on drug prices that would relax industry regulation and contains measures that, some experts have argued, would protect existing drug prices or even increase them.
Intel Chief Executive Brian Krzanich announced he had resigned from his position on the council in a blog post. Krzanic wrote “I resigned to call attention to the serious harm our divided political climate is causing to critical issues, including the serious need to address the decline of American manufacturing. Politics and political agendas have sidelined the important mission of rebuilding America’s manufacturing base.”
CEO of Under Armour, Kevin Plank, announced he was stepping down from the council twitter. Plank statement on Under Armors official twitter said, “I joined the American Manufacturing Council because I believed it was important for Under Armor to have an active seat at the table and represent our industry. We remain resolute in our potential and ability to improve American manufacturing. However, Under Armor engages in innovation and sports, not politics.”
President Trump faced fierce criticism from a variety of individuals and organization over the weekend for his response to violence in Charlottesville. Many questioned, expressing their concern, why Trump had not explicitly named the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazi, or white nationalist groups when he said “we condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides.”
Midday Monday, Trump gave brief remarks to members of the press where he said that “racism is evil and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”
The manufacturing jobs council initially had 28 members and is now down to 25.
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