On Monday, President Donald Trump attacked Merck's chief executive officer because he resigned from the manufacturing council. The resignation of Merck's CEO came as a response to the violence that happened in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend. Trump fired back and tweeted that Ken Frazier, the CEO and chairman of Merck, now has more time in his hands to reduce the costs of his company's "rip-off" drugs.
The withdrawal of Frazier from the council was announced early Monday over the international health care company's Twitter account.
In a statement, Frazier said that he is resigning from the American Manufacturing Council of the President.
"The leaders of the country must honor its fundamental values by rejecting expressions of bigotry, group supremacy, and hatred as all these run counter to America's ideal that all people have been created equal. As the chief executive officer of Merck Pharma as well as of my personal conscience, there is a need for me to go against extremism and intolerance."
Just an hour after, Pres. Trump responded over Twitter, addressing Frazier’s resignation while glossing about the cause of Frazier's decision.
Pres. Trump tweeted: "Now that the CEO of Merck Pharma, Ken Frazier, has resigned from the Manufacturing Council of the President, he has more time to reduce his company’s rip off drug prices."
On Monday evening, the President attacked the drug company again saying, "Merck Pharma is the leader in higher and higher drug prices. It also takes jobs from the country. Bring jobs back and lower your prices."
According to some analysts, the President’s ego was hurt from Frazier's withdrawal. He was taking his time to attack Merck Pharmaceuticals but has failed to condemn actions of violence and the protests of neo-nazis and white supremacists in Virginia over the weekend.
In Charlottesville, a group of white supremacists assembled with the goal of protesting the removal of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's statue. Due to taunting and heated arguments with counter-protesters, one of them drove a car heading straight towards the crowd of counter-protesters. It has been reported that there were deaths caused by the clashes, and at least 24 counter-protesters were injured.
Under pressure and criticism, Trump felt obliged to deliver a forceful statement. Trump tweeted: "racism is evil." He also labeled hate groups as thugs and criminals.
Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Inc and Robert Iger, the CEO of Walt Disney Co left the Strategic & Policy Forum of the President a couple of months back as Trump announced the withdrawal of the country from the Paris agreement. Musk also left Trump's manufacturing council.
Travis Kalanick, the former CEO of Uber Technologies Inc, quit Trump's business advisory council last February because of pressure set on him from employees and activists who opposed the immigration policies of the Trump administration.
Last Sunday, the White House claimed that the remarks of Trump condemning violence at the rally of white supremacists were meant to include neo-Nazi groups and Ku Klux Klan.