Merck CEO Quits Trump Council as 'Matter of Personal Conscience'

An hour after Kenneth Frazier quit Mr Trump responded with a swipe over drug prices

An hour after Kenneth Frazier quit Mr Trump responded with a swipe over drug prices Nicholas Kamm AFP Getty Images

President Trump has come under fire on all sides for his reaction to the violence in Virginia, in which a woman was killed and dozens injured when white supremacists and anti-fascist protesters clashed in the city.

Doug McMillon and dozens of other CEO advisers to President Donald Trump were silent on Monday over his lukewarm response to racist violence over the weekend as one executive stepped down from an advisory council to him.

The message came just hours after Merck CEO Frazier announced his resignation from the American Manufacturing Council in a statement, noting that he was taking "a stand against intolerance and extremism".

Trump responded to his announcement by accusing Frazier of ripping people off. Merck has a facility in Upper Gwynedd Township and is Montgomery County's largest employer.

He was nearly immediately attacked by Trump on Twitter.

The episode comes after the White House rejected criticism of Trump's response to the violence.

"The President said very strongly in his statement yesterday that he condemns all forms of violence, bigotry, and hatred".

The exchange lit up social media on Monday, with many people lauding Mr Frazier and blasting the president.

Over the weekend, Peter was interviewed by a national news outlet while apparently marching with white nationalists, and on Monday he defended the alleged driver who plowed a auto into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing one.

Trump was scheduled to meet with Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray on Monday morning to discuss the Charlottesville incident, the White House said in a statement.

Unilever CEO Paul Polman on Twitter wrote, "Thanks @Merck Ken Frazier for strong leadership to stand up for the moral values that made this country what it is".

Sessions also says he is meeting with President Donald Trump and officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Monday to discuss the recent violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. The Daily Stormer is a neo-Nazi, white-supremacist website associated with the alt-right movement. Walt Disney Co. Chairman and CEO Bob Iger resigned from a White House advisory council for the same reason.

"I would recommend you take a good look in the mirror & remember it was White Americans who put you in the presidency, not radical leftists", David Duke, a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan and a Trump supporter, tweeted after Trump tweeted a tame appeal for unity on Saturday.

"We've learned that as president, Mr Trump is behaving exactly as he did as a candidate", Mr Galston said.

Frazier is not the first corporate chieftain to resign in protest from one of the United States president's advisory councils.

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