African-American CEO resigns from White House council, cites Trump’s silence on white supremacy

Trump was quick to condemn the resignation, but has not condemned white nationalist violence.

Ken Frazier, chairman and chief executive officer of Merck speaks, with President Donald Trump at left, during an event to announce a Merck, Pfizer, and Corning joint partnership to make glass containers for medication, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Thursday, July 20, 2017, in Washington. CREDIT: AP Photo/Alex Brandon
Ken Frazier, chairman and chief executive officer of Merck speaks, with President Donald Trump at left, during an event to announce a Merck, Pfizer, and Corning joint partnership to make glass containers for medication, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Thursday, July 20, 2017, in Washington. CREDIT: AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Kenneth Fraizer, a member of the president’s American Manufacturing Council, announced his resignation early Monday, saying he felt it was his responsibility to “stand against intolerance and extremism.”

Fraizer is the chairman and CEO of the pharmaceutical company Merck. His resignation comes after violence broke out in Charlottseville, Virgina on Saturday at a rally for white nationalists and neo-Nazis. One woman was killed and nearly 20 people were injured when a man drove a car into a group of peaceful protesters.

“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,” Fraizer’s statement said. “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 area created equal.”

Over the weekend, President Trump condemned violence “on many sides” and never explicitly condemned white nationalists, neo-Nazis, or the KKK.

Trump was, however, quick to condemn Fraizer’s resignation Monday morning, tweeting, “Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President’s Manufacturing Council,he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!”

The Merck CEO is the only black member of Trump’s manufacturing council, according to the most recent list, and just three weeks ago, Trump called Fraizer “one of the great leaders of business in this country.”

CEOs Elon Musk of Tesla and Robert Iger of Disney resigned from Trump advisory councils in June after Trump pulled out of the Paris climate accord, citing concerns about climate change. Six members of Trump’s HIV advisory council also resigned in June in protest.