Merck (NYSE:MRK) announced today that chief executive Kenneth Frazier plans to resign from President Donald Trump’s American Manufacturing Council, citing the president’s mild-mannered response to a white nationalist rally in Virginia on Saturday.
The “Unite The Right” gathering turned deadly when a car mowed down a group of counter-protesters, killing at least one person and injuring others. Trump responded to the violence by saying that “many sides” were responsible. The remark drew immediate criticism from both sides of the aisle, with many demanding that Trump specifically denounce white supremacists.
“America’s leaders must honor our fundamental views by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy, which run counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal,” Merck tweeted this morning.
“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.”
The president responded to Frazier’s resignation on Twitter this morning, 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!”
As Trump faced growing outrage over his response to the events in Charlottesville, vice president Mike Pence condemned the violence perpetrated by white supremacists.
“We have no tolerance for hate and violence from white supremacists, neo-Nazis or the KKK,” Pence reportedly said during a trip to Colombia. “These dangerous fringe groups have no place in American public life and in the American debate and we condemn them in the strongest possible terms.”
The driver of the car that killed 32-year old Heather Heyer on Saturday is being held on suspicion of second-degree murder, malicious wounding and failure to stop in an accident that resulted in death, according to CNN.
Today, U.S. attorney general Jeff Sessions labeled the attack as an act of “domestic terrorism.”
“You can be sure we will charge and advance the investigation toward the most serious charges that can be brought because this is unequivocally an unacceptable evil attack,” Sessions said, according to The New York Times.