After Donald Trump failed to condemn a white supremacist attack on pedestrians in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend, his supporters are beginning to distance themselves. Kenneth Frazier, CEO of pharmaceutical company Merck, resigned from the US president’s manufacturing council today.
Responding to clashes surrounding an Aug. 12 white nationalist rally and a car attack that left one woman dead, Trump spoke vaguely of “bigotry” and and violence “on many, many sides.” His emphasis on law enforcement rather than racial hate prompted widespread criticism.
In a statement shared on Twitter by Merck, Frazier announced that he was stepping down from the panel as a matter of personal conscience. “I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.”
Trump was quick to criticize Frazier with a tweet linking him to “ripoff drug prices:”
The manufacturing council consists of Trump’s selection of representatives from US companies, and includes Elon Musk and Michael Dell. The council advises the president on US business competitiveness.
Following Frazier’s resignation, many on social media have called for other members of the cabinet to follow. One who’s done so is Under Armor CEO Kevin Plank, who left after tweeting condemnation of the violence in Charlottesville from a company account.
Merck’s CEO was the only person of color in the council, which now consists of 27 members. Twenty-four are white men and three are white women.
This story was updated with Kevin Plank’s departure from the council.