Merck CEO Quits Trump Council, Prompting Retort on Drug Prices

21 Août, 2017, 06:47 | Author: Marc Bacque

The move by Frazier and Plank shows how corporate leaders are walking a narrow line in working with the Trump administration to help shape policy around taxes, immigration and other issues, while trying not to alienate customers in an increasingly tense political environment.

Kevin Plank, the CEO of Under Armour, quit the council later in the day.

Adhering to the Democratic talking points, regular guest Donny Deutsch hit Trump hard for not denouncing white supremacy by name.

Plank said he would resign because he did not want to engage in politics. Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and SpaceX, left a pair of Trump councils in June after the USA withdrew from the Paris Agreement regarding climate change.

But Intel CEO Brian Krzanich was more specific when he resigned a short time later, writing that while he had urged leaders to condemn "white supremacists and their ilk", many in Washington "seem more concerned with attacking anyone who disagrees with them".

Frazier said in a tweet on Monday that the country's leaders must "honor our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy".

"Trump responded to Frazier with a couple jabs, tweeting late Monday that "@Merck Pharma is a leader in higher & higher drug prices while at the same time taking jobs out of the U.S".

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"That's very good", Trump said at the time.

Merck shares closed up 0.5 percent on the New York Stock Exchange, roughly in line with the wider market. Blackstone Group CEO Steve Schwarzman leads one described as a strategy and policy forum, and Dow Chemical's Andrew Liveris organized a manufacturing initiative.

"A house divided against itself can not stand", wrote Blankfein, whose inaugural tweet in June expressed disapproval over Trump's decision to ditch the Paris climate accord. But they also said they'd stay on the council so they could advise the government on ways to strengthen manufacturing.

Frazier was not the first executive to resign from advisory councils serving Trump.

Richard Trumka, president of the largest federation of US labor unions, the AFL-CIO, questioned the council's effectiveness and said the group was mulling leaving.

That appeared to be a reference to Trump's statement over the weekend blaming violence "on many sides" after neo-Nazis and white nationalists clashed with counter-protesters.

The president was widely criticized for his initial public response to the violence, in which he didn't explicitly acknowledge white supremacists were involved.

Trump said on Twitter that he has other CEOs ready to step in and that "grandstanders" should not have joined the manufacturing council in the first place. "He called for national unity and bringing all Americans together".

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