Published: Thu, August 17, 2017
Money | By Armando Alvarado

Trump disbands two White House business councils amid criticism from CEOs

Trump disbands two White House business councils amid criticism from CEOs

Mr Trump, who is under increasing pressure to explicitly condemn the white supremacist and hate groups involved, lashed out nearly immediately at Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier on Twitter, saying that because of his resignation, the pharmaceutical executive "will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!"

The rift did not seem to harm Merck's stock: The drug company's shares rose by almost a full percentage point in the first hour of trading, to almost $63.

There are several CEOs who have made a decision to remain on the councils despite having differences with Trump's statements on the Charlottesville violence.

Plank was among a couple of CEOs to resign from similar presidential councils.

Trump responded with an all-caps attack that the head of the Kenilworth-based pharmaceutical company would have "more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!"

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - NOVEMBER 03: Campbell Soup Co. president and CEO Denise Morrison speaks during the Fortune Global Forum on November 3, 2015 in San Francisco, California. Brain Krzanich in a blog post wrote that while he urged leaders to condemn "white supremacists and their ilk", many in Washington "seem more concerned with attacking anyone who disagrees with them".

"America's leaders must honor our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy", Frazier said.

Frazier, who as a lawyer helped free a black death row inmate falsely accused of murder, and who now leads one of the country's most powerful drug companies, was first to quit the manufacturing council. That's about half as large as the increase in its retail prices.

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The exchange lit up social media on Monday, with many people lauding Mr Frazier and blasting the president.

Meanwhile, other executives stated their support for Frazier.

Frazier, who grew up in a poor neighborhood in Philadelphia, resigned from the manufacturing advisory council days after one person was killed and others wounded in violent clashes between white supremacists and protesters.

Mr Frazier and his siblings were raised by their caretaker father after their mother died when he was very young.

The aftermath of the violence at a neo-Nazi and white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, represents the latest break between Trump, who sold himself as a businessman president, and leaders of corporate America. The group, which Trump established in January with about two dozen members, is supposed to meet occasionally to offer the president advice on job growth.

"Usually, certain niceties are observed to smooth over a rupture", said Galston, who served as a domestic policy aide in the Clinton administration.

Asked about the president's words and lack of direct condemnation of white nationalist groups, Sessions defended Trump's statement and said he expected him to address the incident again later on Monday.

Trump immediately hit back, referring to a longstanding gripe about expensive drugs.

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