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Merck, Under Armour CEOs quit Trump advisory panel over rally

19 August 2017

Under Armour founder and CEO Kevin Plank announced late Monday evening he will step down from President Donald Trump's American Manufacturing Council - becoming the second CEO to leave the council that day.

Before this latest news conference, it had become clear that the man who rammed his vehicle into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing a woman and injuring dozens of people, had idolized Adolph Hitler long before he joined the white nationalist rally.

The resignation prompted an angry response from Trump on Twitter.

After the white nationalist rally turned deadly on Saturday, Trump initially said that many sides were to blame.

"More and more we are seeing America's business leaders recognize that President Trump's brand of bigotry is bad for business".

On Monday, Kenneth Frazier, the CEO of Merck, joined the growing list of executives who feel compelled by Trump's words and policies to take a stand against him.

He wrote on Twitter that "America's leaders must honour 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". Head to IBD Stock Checkup for a look at other drug stock leaders.

President Trump announced his manufacturing jobs initiative in January as part of his much-touted job creation agenda.

"We have more manufacturing employees in the USA than we have in any other country and in highly skilled jobs that pay well and generate growth for the USA economy", Tracy Ogden, a Merck spokewoman, told CNBC Tuesday evening.

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If that sentence sounds confusing, then you get the gist of this whole Ben Affleck, Batman drama that's been going on for months. Because I was just kind of making that up, I don't know", the Oscar victor said.

Frazier and five others weighed the risks and rewards and over a period of some 36 hours stepped down from the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative council that advises Trump, who dismissed them as "grandstanders".

People close to Intel's Krzanich said he was motivated to quit the council because of Trump's Twitter attacks on Frazier.

Frazier's statement - along with those of scores of others, including many Republicans - might have even had an effect on Trump's decision, later Monday, to get more specific about what happened in Charlottesville.

They know that working with a President who gives cover to white supremacist violence and terror is bad for America and they recognize that Trump's presidency is not business as usual, but represents a unsafe threat to pluralism and democratic values.

"Under Armour engages in innovation and sports, not politics", Plank said.

Then, on Monday afternoon, Trump specifically called out the KKK and neo-Nazis.

General Electric Corp. said it was a "proudly inclusive company" that has "no tolerance for hate, bigotry or racism".

"That's very good", Trump said at the time. Should they stay? "It's a discussion that's going on more broadly than either you and I can imagine", said Leslie Brun, lead director at Merck, one of the few large US corporations with a black CEO.

Merck, Under Armour CEOs quit Trump advisory panel over rally