Merck, Under Armour CEOs quit Donald Trump advisory panel over rally response

Rodiano Bonacci
Agosto 20, 2017

President Trump's American Manufacturing Council originally included the chief executives of more than two dozen top US companies, as well as leaders of industry groups and labor unions. Under Armour's Plank, who had come under fire in the past for supportive comments about Trump's agenda made on CNBC, said on Twitter that "I am stepping down from the council to focus on inspiring & uniting through power of sport", saying in a statement that "Under Armour engages in innovation and sports, not politics".

Kenneth Frazier, the chief executive of Merck Pharmaceuticals, CEO Kevin Plank of the Under Armour sporting goods company and Brian Krzanich, who heads the technology giant Intel, have all quit Trump's American Manufacturing Council.

Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier wrote on Twitter Monday that "America's leaders must honor our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy, which runs counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal".

The council has included top executives from Boeing Co., Dow Chemical Co. and Johnson & Johnson.

In the wake of the awful act of white supremacist terrorism that struck Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday, President Trump blew the single easiest thing a president could do: condemn Nazis.

Trump tweeted again on Tuesday morning and said the business leaders who resigned were "grandstanders".

The move came after Donald Trump is under increasing pressure to explicitly condemn the racially-tinged rally of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend. This includes Intel and Under Armour this week - both having left a manufacturing council made for Trump.

President Donald Trump's business advisory council, which was hemorrhaging members following Trump's series of responses to a white nationalist rally over the weekend, disbanded itself on Wednesday. He wrote that he hoped Frazier would have more time to "LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!"

Trump's aides did not expect the president to take questions at an event at Trump Tower on Tuesday touting infrastructure plans, but he wound up telling reporters that left wing protesters were just as responsible for the violence as white supremacists - despite a hit-and-run vehicle attack by an alleged white nationalist that left one protester dead and injured 19 others.

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.

Only sixteen of the 28 original business leaders on the council remain.

Amid a bleeding set of councils (see below), Trump suggested this afternoon that he was "ending" said councils. Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, and Bob Iger, CEO of Disney, both announced their exits from Trump's Advisory Councils following that decision in June. "Hate and intolerance are a betrayal of what we stand for as Americans", said Pepsi chief executive Indra Nooyi, in a statement that did not address the Trump panel.

Within minutes, Trump responded by bashing Frazier on Twitter.

Frazier, Plank and Krzanich are not the first CEOs to drop out of a Trump advisory role.

"This initiative will bring a key industry to our shores that for too long has been dominated by foreign countries", Trump said in July. Trump had doubled down on his position that the violence in Charlottesville was perpetrated by "many sides".

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