Merck stock spikes after CEO leaves Trump council

Merck stock spikes after CEO leaves Trump council
© Greg Nash

Stock prices for Merck & Co. jumped Monday morning shortly after the pharmaceutical company’s CEO announced he’d step down from a council advising President Trump, citing the president’s response to the violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va.

Merck’s stock price rose roughly 1 percent, its biggest jump in nearly in a month, following chairman and CEO Kenneth Frazier’s announcement that he would leave Trump’s American Manufacturing Council.

Trump blasted Frazier on Twitter soon after the announcement, saying the CEO “will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!”

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Frazier’s departure comes after Trump was widely criticized for his response to violent attacks by white nationalist groups in Charlottesville that left one dead and more than a dozen injured.

Trump said in a Saturday statement that "We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides — on many sides.”

Lawmakers from both parties criticized Trump for failing to name the various white nationalist, neo-Nazi and far-right groups responsible for the attacks on counterprotesters. Some of those groups praised Trump for not condemning them by name in his statement.

Frazier, who is black, said Monday he was leaving the council because U.S. leaders must "clearly reject expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy."

The White House said on Sunday that Trump “of course” condemns violence from “white supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazi and all extremist groups.”

"The president said very strongly in his statement yesterday that he condemns all forms of violence, bigotry, and hatred,” the White House said.