Trump doubles down on Merck attack

Trump doubles down on Merck attack
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President Trump doubled down on his attacks on a leading pharmaceutical company Monday night after its CEO resigned from one of his presidential councils.

Trump blasted Merck for "higher and higher drug prices" after chairman and CEO Kenneth Frazier resigned from the president's American Manufacturing Council, citing the administration's response to violence in Charlottesville, Va.

Trump had specifically named Frazier in a tweet Monday morning, saying he will now have more time to "lower ripoff drug prices."  

Trump's criticism of Merck and Frazier is a reversal. Just last month he called Frazier a "business genius" and "one of the great, great leaders of business."

He also praised Merck as "great for American jobs."

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Frazier announced Monday he would resign from the council "as a matter of personal conscience" following the violence this weekend in Charlottesville, where one person died and many more were injured in clashes between white supremacists and counterprotesters.

"Our country's strength stems from its diversity and the contributions made by men and women of different faiths, races, sexual orientations and political beliefs," Frazier said.

"America's leaders must honor our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy, which run counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal. As CEO of Merck and as a matter of personal conscience, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism."

Democrats and Republicans both criticized Trump for not explicitly rebuking white supremacists in Charlottesville over the weekend. 

Trump made a statement Monday afternoon in which he said that “racism is evil” and for the first time called out the KKK, neo-Nazis and other hate groups for their actions at the “Unite the Right” rally in the Virginia college town.