Trump, black pharmaceutical CEO row over Charlottesville clash

Source: Xinhua| 2017-08-14 23:36:43|Editor: yan
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) -- A prominent black business executive announced Monday that he is quitting a White House advisory group, in a show of stand against a previous comment made by Donald Trump over the deadly Charlottesville clash over the weekend.

Kenneth Frazier, the CEO of pharmaceutical giant Merck, said in a statement: "America's leaders must honor our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy."

Frazier said he will cease his input to Trump's Manufacturing Jobs Initiative, an advisory panel consisting of the country's top private sector business leaders aimed at boosting jobs.

Frazier was the only black executive named to the group in January.

"As a matter of personal conscience, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism," Frazier added.

Minutes after Frazier's announcement, Trump took to Twitter to retaliate, saying "Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President's Manufacturing Council, he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!"

Although Frazier avoided being specific about the reason that prompted him to quit, it is widely believed to be linked to Trump's statement over the clash in Charlottesville in the U.S. state of Virginia, which claimed the lives of three and wounded dozens.

White supremacist groups gathered in Charlottesville Friday evening to protest the city's decision to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from a park, and evolved into a clash with anti-protesters Saturday before a state of emergency was called in the city.

During the clash, a car rammed into a group of protesters, killing one and injuring 19. Meanwhile, a police helicopter crashed when patrolling nearby, killing two policemen on board.

Trump said in a speech Saturday that "many sides" have displayed "hatred, bigotry and violence," sparking sharp criticism for stopping short of a clear-cut condemnation against white supremacist groups.