Far-right clashes: Merck CEO quits Trump panel

Richard Trumka, president of AFL-CIO, said, "I can not sit on a council for a President that tolerates bigotry and domestic terrorism; I resign, effective immediately". Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sought to move on from the disaster that was Trumpcare, so the president repeatedly called him a failure and demanded he "get back to work".

Michael Dell is the only tech CEO left on Trump's council, although he's still in good company.

One of the few African-Americans to head a Fortune 500 company, Frazier is known as a fierce defender of his company and is credited with having revived Merck's research division.

Trump suggested in remarks Tuesday that the white supremacists and counterprotesters were both blameworthy for violence that erupted this weekend in Virginia. In the past, the leaders of Disney and Tesla have stepped down to protest the president's withdrawal from the Paris climate accord.

The outburst prompted condemnation from both sides of the political aisle and ratcheted up the calls on remaining executives to resign from the panel.

The president then took to Twitter to criticize Frazier, saying he and the pharmaceutical company would now "have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!"

"The President's most recent statements equating those who are motivated by race-based hate with those who stand up against hatred is unacceptable and has changed our decision to participate in the White House Manufacturing Advisory Council", Gorsky said. "Nobody wants to say it, but I will say it right now", Trump said on Tuesday.

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

He blasted Frazier less than an hour after the CEO quit the council.

Both groups were responsible for attacks during a march on Saturday, the most egregious of which was when a member of a neo-Nazi group drove a vehicle into a group of protesters, killing one woman and injuring about 20 others.

Frazier, chairman and CEO of Merck & Co. 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".

"First of all, the council was sort of a joke", Mr Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, the largest group of unions in the USA, told CNN.

The outrage eventually forced Trump to issue a new statement condemning racism and hate groups by name on Monday.

What that means is unclear - in a statement, Pence has said that he "stands" with the president - but at a minimum, it appears to be unprecedented recognition from a senior administration official that this is a crisis beyond any which the Trump presidency has faced.

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