After Merck, CEOs of Intel, Under Armour leave Trump panel over rally

Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier has resigned over US President Donald Trump's response to violence in Charlottesville

Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier has resigned over US President Donald Trump's response to violence in Charlottesville

The chairman and CEO of American pharmaceutical giant Merck announced Monday that he was resigning from President Donald Trump's American Manufacturing Council "as a matter of personal conscience" in the wake of a deadly auto attack on protesters in Virginia over the weekend.

Kenneth Frazier, the CEO of drugmaker Merck and an African-American, said he left the advisory council because of the president's reaction after the violence between white supremacists and counter protesters. "I called on all leaders to condemn the white supremacists and their ilk who marched and committed violence".

Hours after Frazier resigned, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank also said he was stepping down from the council.

Trump lashed out at Frazier within minutes, saying the resignation would give him "more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!"

A fifth business leader, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, announced his departure from the council and the departure of AFL-CIO Deputy Chief of Staff Thea Lee shortly after Trump made his comments.

The resignations came after Trump was criticized for his response to the violence at white supremacist events in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend.

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Dell said there was "no change" in how it is "engaging with the Trump administration" on policy issues that affect the company.

Whatever their motivations for exiting, any CEO joining the advisory council should've known what to expect because there was little mystery about Trump's policy positions, said Nick Donatiello, a lecturer on governance topics at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

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".

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

Trump earlier Tuesday called the CEOs leaving the manufacturing council "grandstanders" and boasted that he had "many to take their place". Musk also stepped down from the President's Strategic and Policy Forum on which he was participating because of Trump's decision to leave the Paris accord.

The president of a manufacturing association has become the fourth executive to walk away from President Trump after he took two days to denounce white supremacy.

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It said: "The president said very strongly in his statement yesterday that he condemns all forms of violence, bigotry and hatred and of course that includes white supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazi and all extremist groups".

"I joined the American Manufacturing Council because I believed it was important for Under Armour to have an active seat at the table and represent our industry", Plank wrote.

Sonnenfeld said he received emails from more than a dozen leading CEOs on Monday reacting to Frazier's statement - and especially Trump's broadside.

Trump, who has been at his New Jersey golf club on a working vacation, was set to make a one-day return to Washington on Monday to sign an executive action on China's trade practices.

"First of all, the council was sort of a joke", Mr Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, the largest group of unions in the United States, told CNN.

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