Merck chairman and CEO Kenneth C. Frazier on Monday announced his resignation from President Trump’s American Manufacturing Council.
“Our country’s strength stems from its diversity and the contributions made by men and women of different faiths, races, sexual orientations and political beliefs,” he said in a statement.
“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 added.
“As CEO of Merck and as a matter of personal conscience, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.”
Some Twitter users on Monday praised Frazier for resigning after Trump’s response to violence in Charlottesville, Virginia last Saturday.
Buy Merck. That's all I can say. It appears their CEO is awesome.— Clinton McRobert (@FunHoleNo_5) August 14, 2017
Tremendous strength of character on part of Merck's CEO. I hope Merck's stock goes up substantially today!— Margery Wilson (@MargeryAPW) August 14, 2017
Other people on the social media platform criticized Trump for attacking Frazier less than half an hour after the businessman’s decision.
Trump tweeted out criticism of Frazier about 41 minutes after the pharmaceutical CEO’s resignation.
“Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President’s Manufacturing Council, he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!!!” he said.
Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President's Manufacturing Council,he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 14, 2017
The White House on Sunday clarified Trump’s response to violent clashes between white nationalists and counter-protesters in Charlottesville the day before.
“The president said very strongly in his statement yesterday that he condemns all forms of violence, bigotry and hatred,” a White House spokesperson said in a statement.
Trump faced bipartisan criticism for his initial response to the incident, which some argued did not forcefully denounce white nationalism.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides – on many sides,” he said at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
One person died in Charlottesville last Saturday after a car drove into demonstrators, while two Virginia State Police officers also died after a helicopter crash linked to the unrest.
White nationalist groups gathered in Charlottesville Saturday to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.