Merck CEO resigns from President's Manufacturing Council
Posted August 14
Durham, N.C. — The chief executive of pharmaceutical company Merck, which has a plant in Durham, said he is resigning from the President's American Manufacturing Council, citing a "responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism."
Kenneth C. Frazier released a statement through Twitter on Monday that said he was leaving the position. Frazier's resignation comes two days after a protest of white nationalist in Charlottesville, Virginia, turned violent, ending with dozens of injuries and one death.
Without specifically naming the incident or President Donald Trump, 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."
Frazier's full statement:
"I am resigning from the President's American Manufacturing Council.
Our country's biggest strength stems from its diversity and the contributions made by men and women of different faiths, races, sexual orientations and political beliefs.
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 extremeism."
Trump, who is under increasing pressure to explicitly condemn the white supremacist and hate groups involved, lashed out almost immediately on Twitter, saying that because of the resignation, Frazier "will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!"
Merck employs 1,600 people in Durham, according to the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce, making it one of the 20 largest employers in the city.
Other executives who agreed to serve on councils advising the president have already resigned, citing separate stances taken by the Trump administration.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk resigned from the manufacturing council in June, and two other advisory groups to the president, after the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement. Walt Disney Co. Chairman and CEO Bob Iger resigned from a White House advisory council for the same reason.