High-profile African American CEO Kenneth Frazier quits Trump's business panel after Charlottesville response

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One of the US’s most high-profile African American CEOs has quit Donald Trump’s business advisory panel following the President’s response to the Charlottesville protests.

Kenneth Frazier, chief executive officer of pharmaceutical giant Merck, announced his resignation on Monday as Trump faced mounting criticism over his response to the fatal events in Virginia. 

In statement, Mr Frazier said: “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.”

The US President had faced criticism for not immediately condemning the actions of the far right group when the neo-Nazis sparked violence during the protest.

Heather Heyer, 32, died after she was mown down as she attended an anti-fascism event where the far right group struck. Nineteen people were injured.

Mr Frazier added: “Our country’s strength stems from its diversity and the contributions made by men and women of different faiths, races, sexual orientations and political beliefs.”

Minutes after the high-profile CEO’s announcement, Trump attacked him on Twitter. He wrote: “Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President’s Manufacturing Council, he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!”

The White House has since issued a statement, which said the president “condemns all forms of violence, bigotry and hatred, and of course that includes white Supremacists, KKK, neo-nazi and all extremist groups.”

Mr Frazier is the third business leader to quit the US leader’s panel. Disney chairman Bob Iger and Elon Musk, chief executive of Tesla, both resigned in June after Trump announced he would withdraw the US from the Paris climate agreement.


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