President Donald Trump on Monday attacked the CEO of Merck for resigning from the president’s manufacturing council over Trump’s response to violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, snarkily tweeting that Ken Frazier will now have more time to reduce drug costs.
Frazier, chairman and CEO of Merck, announced his withdrawal from the council earlier Monday in a tweet from the global health care company’s account.
“I am resigning from the President’s American Manufacturing Council,” Frazier said in a statement. “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 are created equal. As CEO of Merck and as a matter of personal conscience, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.”
Trump responded within the hour, addressing Frazier’s resignation while glossing over the root cause of his decision.
“Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President’s Manufacturing Council,he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!” Trump wrote.
On Monday evening, Trump again dinged the drug company. “.@Merck Pharma is a leader in higher & higher drug prices while at the same time taking jobs out of the U.S. Bring jobs back & LOWER PRICES!” he tweeted.
The president failed to condemn the violent actions and protests of white supremacists in Charlottesville over the weekend. The group assembled to protest the removal of a statute of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, and a suspect later drove a car into a crowd of peaceful counterprotesters. At least one person died, and more than two dozen others were injured during the clashes.
For his part, Trump said he condemned in “the strongest possible terms this degree of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides” and called for unity and condemnation of “all that hate stands for” in a tweet.
“There is no place for this kind of violence in America,” he added. “Lets come together as one!”
Under pressure, Trump on Monday delivered a more forceful statement, declaring that “racism is evil,” while calling out hate groups as “criminals and thugs.”
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