Published: Sat, August 19, 2017
Economy | By Annette Adams

Trump blames 'both sides' for Charlottesville

Trump blames 'both sides' for Charlottesville

He continued, "As CEO of Merck and as a matter of personal conscience, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism".

He was the third CEO, after Kenneth Frazier of pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co., and Kevin Plank of athletic equipment maker Under Armour Inc., who exited the presidential advisory board the same day, all citing the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a white nationalist rally ended Saturday with the deaths of three people and injuries of 19 more.

Likewise, Under Armour's Plank-who once called President Trump a "real asset to this country"-announced his resignation in a statement over Twitter on Monday evening". "@Merck Pharma is a leader in higher & higher drug prices while at the same time taking jobs out of the U.S. Bring jobs back & LOWER PRICES", Trump wrote in a separate tweet.

After neo-Nazis and white supremacists brawled with counter-protesters in the streets of Charlottesville on Saturday, Trump spoke against violence "on many sides - on many sides".

Trump said on Twitter that he has other CEOs ready to step in and that "grandstanders" should not have joined the manufacturing council in the first place.

Merck's CEO Ken Frazier quit Monday President Trump's business council, dissatisfied with Trump's lackluster response to violence that erupted after a neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville over the weekend. However, Under Armour engages in innovation and sports, not politics.

Two days later and after intense criticism, Trump on Monday called out the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists as "evil" and "hate groups" that are "repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans".

The White House and Trump have come under fire after Trump faulted "many sides" for the violence while failing to mention the far-right militia groups involved in the Charlottesville riot - some of whom were allegedly wearing Trump hats and T-shirts.

A man drove his auto into a crowd of anti-racism protesters, killing a young woman and injuring 19.

"It's certainly a sign that Trump's more controversial stuff isn't playing well with companies selling to middle America", he said.

"Keeping politics out of it is the best thing he could do", he said.

Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, announced he was quitting the council after Mr Trump's off-the-rails press conference on Tuesday at Trump Tower in Manhattan. Vice President Mike Pence also denounced such groups on Sunday.

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk resigned from the manufacturing council in June, and two other advisory groups to the president, after the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement.

Trump formed the manufacturing council a week after his inauguration as part of a push to create jobs. Musk also left the manufacturing council.

The leaders of four minority House caucus groups have written a letter to President Donald Trump calling for the removal of White House staff aides Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller and Sebastian Gorka.

Former Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] CEO Travis Kalanick quit the business advisory council in February amid pressure from activists and employees who opposed the administration's immigration policies.

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