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Merck's Frazier quits Trump council in wake of white supremacist march; president tweets complaint

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Kenneth C. Frazier, chairman and CEO of Merck & Co.
Kenneth C. Frazier, chairman and CEO of Merck & Co. - ()

Kenneth C. Frazier, chairman and CEO of Merck & Co., is quitting President Donald Trump’s American Manufacturing Council after the president delayed denouncing a white supremacist march in Virginia that led to the deaths of a counterprotester and two state troopers over the weekend.

Trump, who first said Saturday, “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides,” was widely criticized for not overtly condemning the march.

He eventually issued stronger remarks Monday afternoon, saying, “Racism is evil,” and denouncing neo-Nazis and other hate groups.

But the stronger stance came too late for Frazier, who said in a statement Monday morning through the Kenilworth-based company that, “America’s leaders must honor our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy, which run counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal.”

Trump countered with a tweet less than an hour later — and before his public remarks — that was critical of Frazier, one of the nation’s most prominent African-American CEOs.

By about 1:45 p.m., Trump's tweet had more than 49,000 likes and 12,000 retweets, while Merck's had more than 27,000 likes and more than 12,000 retweets.

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