Merck, Intel CEOs quit Trump's council

REFILE-Merck CEO resigns from Trump's manufacturing council

The exodus forced Mr Trump to disband it on Wednesday, despite defiantly writing on Twitter a day earlier "for every CEO that drops out of the Manufacturing Council, I have many to take their place".

"We must engage if we hope to change the world and those who lead it", he said in a statement.

Kenneth Frazier of Merck, one of the country's most prominent black executives, was the first to leave the manufacturing council on Monday.

Those who have resigned in protest at Trump's actions join Elon Musk, who left the council after Trump announced the United States was pulling out of the Paris climate change agreement in June.

Trump initially said both groups of protesters were to blame, but later he changed his tone under pressure, blaming white supremacists, neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan for the violent rally.

Krzanich also said he had urged other leaders to condemn the white supremacists who took part in the Virginia rally.

Announcing his resignation Monday, Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier cited the president's failure to explicitly rebuke the white nationalists.

"We must resign on behalf of America's working people, who reject all notions of legitimacy of these bigoted groups", Trumka said in a statement.

The political PAC maintained by Merck and funded through donations from Merck employees made over $1.1 million in candidate contributions during the 2016 campaign - but did not contribute to Trump or his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, according to documents filed with the Federal Elections Commission. Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank also quit on Monday. A woman was killed and 19 people injured when a vehicle rammed a group of counter-protesters on a narrow street. "Being on a presidential council never guarantees that your policies are going to get carried out, but it probably guarantees that you'll be heard before anybody else".

Trump had condemned the violence in Charlottesville saying that "the hatred and division in the America must stop as we are all Americans first".

Drugmakers have come under withering criticism for soaring prices in the USA, including by President Trump, though he has yet to act on a promise to contain them.

John Maraganore, the CEO of Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, tweeted his support, saying he was "proud to stand with leaders like Ken Frazier".

Paul joined the CEOs of Merck, Under Armour and Intel, who all left the council Monday.

Trump, though, has the loudest voice on the political landscape, said Norm Ornstein, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and contributing editor at the National Review and The Atlantic. Walt Disney Co. Chairman and CEO Bob Iger resigned for the same reason from the President's Strategic and Policy Forum, which President Trump established to advise him on how government policy impacts economic growth and job creation.

Caught in the crossfire of the fast-moving events was Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky, who announced Tuesday he would remain on the manufacturing council to "remain engaged".

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