CEOs react to Trump's Charlottesville shame

Xavier Trudeau
Août 19, 2017

Wal-Mart CEO Doug McMillon is criticizing President Donald Trump's initial response to violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, at a white supremacist rally.

The CEOs of computer chip maker Intel and pharmaceutical company Merck resigned Monday from the White House's American Manufacturing Council - with the Merck withdrawal drawing a quick and angry Twitter outburst from President Donald Trump. Merck has a facility in Upper Gwynedd Township and is Montgomery County's largest employer.

Frazier is one of the country's most prominent black corporate executives and was the only black male CEO named to the council in January.

Among those who've left the panel are the chief executives for Merck, Under Armour and Intel and the president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing.

Four corporate executives had already walked away from Trump's manufacturing council following the president's reaction to the protests in Charlottesville. Krzanich condemned the white supremacists marching and called out leaders in Washington for seeming "more concerned with attacking anyone who disagrees with them".

A gathering of hundreds of white nationalists in Virginia took a deadly turn on Saturday when a vehicle plowed into a group of counter-protesters and killed at least one person in a flare up of violence.

Two days later and after intense criticism, Trump on Monday called out the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists as "evil" and "hate groups" that are "repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans".

The president followed up later in the day, 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!"

However, Dr. P. Roy Vagelos, the chairman of the board of Regeneron, the Tarrytown drug maker that does all of its US manufacturing in the Capital Region, did voice his support for Frazier. Frazier explained his reasons for leaving the council on a Merck Twitter post.

Dell Technologies said that its chief executive, Michael Dell, would remain on the White House manufacturing advisory 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, in June, after Trump said he would withdraw from the Paris climate accord.

Frazier and other business leaders cited Trump's muddled response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia as the impetus for the exits.

The manufacturing jobs council had 28 members initially, but it has shrunk since it was formed earlier this year as executives retire, are replaced, or, as with Frazier and Musk, resign.

A Dell spokeswoman said, "While we would not comment on any member's personal decision, there's no change in Dell engaging with the Trump administration and governments around the world".

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