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Trump’s Non-Reaction Over Charlottesville Forces Three CEOs To Resign From Trump Council

Trump’s Non-Reaction Over Charlottesville Forces Three CEOs To Resign From Trump Council
Following Trump's initially tepid response to weekend violence at a rally of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, the chief executives of Intel Corp, Merck & Co Inc and Under Armour Inc resigned from U.S. President Donald Trump's American Manufacturing Council on Monday.
"I resigned from the council to call attention to the serious harm our divided political climate is causing to critical issues...," Intel Chief Executive Brian Krzanich said in a blog post. 
Because of the president's reaction after the violence between white supremacists and counter protesters, he left the advisory council, said Kenneth Fraizer, the chief executive of drugmaker Merck and an African-American.
It was considering pulling its representative on the committee said, the AFL-CIO, a federation of labor unions that represent 12.5 million workers.
Trump initially said that many sides were to blame after the white nationalist rally turned deadly on Saturday. But on Monday, bowing to mounting political pressure as critics assailed him for not singling out white supremacists Trump, in a statement, enounced neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan as criminals and thugs.
His resignation from the council was announced by the CEO of Under Armour, Kevin Plank, in a Twitter posting. "We remain resolute in our potential and ability to improve American manufacturing," said Plank. "However, Under Armour engages in innovation and sports, not politics."
Over his support of Trump, Plank was criticized last winter by some of Under Armour's biggest stars.
A car plowed into a group of counter protesters and killed one person as the demonstration in Charlottesville by hundreds of white nationalists took a deadly turn on Saturday.
"America's leaders must honor our fundamental views by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy, which run counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal," Frazier said in a statement announcing his resignation.
"As CEO of Merck and as a matter of personal conscience, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism," he said.
Trump responded shortly later in a tweet, saying, "Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President's Manufacturing Council, he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!"
By tweeting that Merck "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!", Trump doubled down on his attack later in the day.
"I support Ken Frazier’s decision. I’m thankful we have business leaders such as Ken to remind America of its better angels," said Hewlett Packard Enterprises CEO Meg Whitman, who ran for governor of California as a Republican in 2010.
Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein tweeted: "Lincoln: 'A house divided against itself cannot stand.' Isolate those who try to separate us. No equivalence w/ those who bring us together."
Richard Trumka, president of the largest federation of U.S. labor unions, the AFL-CIO, questioned the council's effectiveness and said the group was mulling leaving.
"The AFL-CIO has unequivocally denounced the actions of bigoted domestic terrorists in Charlottesville and called on the president to do the same," Trumka said in a statement.
In protest to Trump policies, previously, several executives from top U.S. companies have stepped down from a number of presidential advisory councils.
After Trump said he would withdraw from the Paris climate accord. Musk also left the manufacturing council, Tesla Inc CEO Elon Musk and Walt Disney Co CEO Robert Iger left the President’s Strategic and Policy Forum, a business advisory group.
Amid pressure from activists and employees who opposed the administration's immigration policies, former Uber Technologies Inc Travis Kalanick quit the business advisory council in February.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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