Trump lashes out at black CEO who quit council

Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier									Mark Lennihan  AP

Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier Mark Lennihan AP

The council is tasked with advising the President on American manufacturing and was founded shortly after the inauguration.

Plank was criticised last winter by some of Under Armour's biggest stars over his support of Trump, comments that basketball star Stephen Curry echoed.

Hours later, Trump caved to pressure and made a stronger statement condemning racism, white supremacists and neo-Nazis.

Confederate statues were removed in Maryland's Baltimore city on Wednesday following white nationalists rally to defend a downtown Confederate monuments turned deadly in Charlottesville. Perhaps Frazier's pride of place was random.

Within minutes, Trump attacked him on Twitter, saying Frazier's resignation will give him "more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!" Frazier cited a "matter of personal conscience", noting he felt "a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism".

Many observers thought Merck would eventually have to shell out $10 billion or more to thousands of plaintiffs over the drug's withdrawal.

Merck shares closed up 0.5%on the New York Stock Exchange, roughly in line with the wider market.

Early this morning, Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, has announced he is also resigning from the council.

According to the Times, even if the group did not disband, a number of executives said they would depart from the council.

Other top business leaders also spoke out in response to the violence in Charlottesville.

In quitting his spot, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said the manufacturing council has "yet to hold any real meeting" since it was formed.

Several executives from top U.S. companies have previously stepped down from a number of presidential advisory councils in protest to Trump policies.

"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", he said in nationally televised remarks.

Trump had appointed Liveris to lead the manufacturing council, which was meant to serve as is the principal private sector advisory committee to the secretary of commerce on the manufacturing in the United States.

After a discussion among a dozen prominent CEOs, the decision was made to abandon the group altogether, said people with knowledge of details of the call.

On the other hand, CEOs who choose to remain on the manufacturing council can continue to pursue policy goals (such as corporate tax cuts, immigration and health care reform) to benefit corporate America and their own particular industry.

Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and SpaceX, left both of the aforementioned councils in June after the USA withdrew from the Paris Agreement regarding climate change.

Trump had condemned the violence in Charlottesville saying that "the hatred and division in the America must stop as we are all Americans first".

Trump on Saturday initially denounced what he called "this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides".

"Every member of the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative condemns racism and bigotry, and there can not be moral ambiguity around the driving forces of the events in Charlottesville", Liveris said in his statement.

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