Merck CEO resigns from President's Manufacturing Council

Posted August 14

— 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.


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  • Ronald Woodard Aug 14, 7:04 p.m.
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    Let's remember that Sen Byrd of WVA was a Democrat Senator for decades after he was a member of the KKK. Does this mean the Dems support the KKK?Sadly, racism was alive from both sides at the Charlottesville event. Racism today cannot be condoned on either side because even worse racism took place decades ago.

  • Salatheal Hasty Aug 14, 4:24 p.m.
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    Here's were a lot of people forget that the KKK went out and Hung..Murdered..Tortured non white People...I have yet to see a BLM rally were non black people are Publicly murdered and or tortured...But remember the KKK does this in the name of Christianity...Oh wait we're taught only the Islamic people do that right!

  • Ronald Woodard Aug 14, 12:48 p.m.
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    President Trump said, "We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides". VP Pence and Trump administration Cabinet officials have said they condemn racism also. But the Trump Administration forgot to get permission from the Left to speak, so nothing that is said will likely be adequate. Given population statistics and the number of KKK and neo-Nazi nut jobs, etc, it would appear that .0001% of the white population supports these hate groups. Charlottesville video showing persons wearing BLM T-shirts and holding baseball bats before the car attack was likely racist as well. It was an overall sad day for America indeed.

  • Edward Anderson Aug 14, 12:10 p.m.
    user avatar

    Good for you! Now if all the other members of this council would quit, maybe the message would get through.