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Merck CEO resigns from Trump council after Charlottesville

[NEW YORK] Merck & Co Inc Chief Executive Kenneth Frazier resigned from US President Donald Trump's American Manufacturing Council on Monday, saying he was taking a stand against intolerance and extremism.

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

Mr Trump had said "many sides" were involved, drawing fire from across the political spectrum for not specifically denouncing the far right.

"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," Mr Frazier said in a tweet announcing his resignation.

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Mr Trump responded in a tweet, now that "Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President's Manufacturing Council, he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!"

Several executives from top US companies have stepped down from a number of presidential advisory councils in protest to Trump policies.

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 Mr Trump said he would withdraw from the Paris climate accord. Mr Musk also left the manufacturing council.

Former Uber Technologies Inc CEO Travis Kalanick quit the business advisory council in February amid pressure from activists and employees who opposed the administration's immigration policies.

REUTERS

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