Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank Says He's Exiting Trump's Manufacturing Council

Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier and U.S. President Donald Trump meet along with representatives from PhRMA the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America in the White House

Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier and U.S. President Donald Trump meet along with representatives from PhRMA the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America in the White House

Earlier on Monday Merck (MRK) CEO Kenneth Frazier quit Trump's manufacturing council in the wake of the president's response to weekend protests by white nationalists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The policy forum's disbanding follows a wave of CEO defections from Trump's Manufacturing Advisory Council, a panel of corporate leaders focused on boosting US manufacturing jobs. He said he would "continue to focus my efforts on inspiring every person that they can do anything through the power of sport which promotes unity, diversity and inclusion".

In a statement, the leaders of the forum alluded to Trump's remarks on racially charged violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., that one counterprotester dead and numerous others injured. Trump has since done so, but the belated statement did not stem the criticism from the private sector.

Trump later attacked Plank and Merck in a pair of tweets, saying now "he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!"

The president followed up later in the day, tweeting that Merck "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!"

Drugmakers have come under withering criticism for soaring prices in the US, including by Trump, though he has yet to act on a promise to contain them. I resigned because I want to make progress, while many in Washington seem more concerned with attacking anyone who disagrees with them.

In January, Merck reported that its average net prices - the amount the company receives after discounts and other rebates - increased in the years since 2010 in a range between 3.4 percent and 6.2 percent per year.

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Trump eventually made a statement condemning bigotry Monday afternoon at a press conference.

But most other executives appear to be staying put.

Trump had said "many sides" were involved, drawing fire from across the political spectrum for not specifically denouncing the far right.

One person was killed in the protests after a vehicle slammed into a crowd and multiple people were injured in that incident and in running clashes between white supremacists and those opposing them. But they also said they'd stay on the council so they could advise the government on ways to strengthen manufacturing.

Though Plank's reasoning for withdrawing from the council isn't entirely clear from that statement.

Disney's Bob Iger, another member of the economic advisory council, also quit after the Paris decision.

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.

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