This story reflects the views of this author, but not necessarily the editorial position of Fast Company.
This morning, Merck CEO Kenneth C. Frazier announced on Twitter that he is resigning from President Donald Trump’s American Manufacturing Council in direct response to the president’s failure to denounce the neo-Nazis and white supremacists who rioted in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend. Many are applauding the move. I am not. And I will not applaud any other business leaders who are involved with the Trump administration who now feel compelled to finally remove their involvement and support.
Nobody should be surprised by Trump’s mealy-mouthed bullshit statement that the death and injuries on Saturday were a result of hate “on many sides.” Trump won’t condemn Nazis, white supremacists, bigots, misogynists, and hate groups in the so-called “alt-right” because they helped get him elected. He has appointed them to his cabinet. Hate crimes have been on the rise since took office. He has emboldened groups that have always simmered in the U.S.
What happened on Saturday is sickening and scary and shameful. But it also represents a boiling point of the kind of rhetoric (white men shouting “we will not be replaced”) that Trump has fanned the flames of for years. Business leaders and others who are marking this as their final straw shouldn’t get our congratulations; they should get our scrutiny. Why has it taken them this long?
Note: Trump responded to pressure on both the left and right by eventually condemning white supremacists and neo-Nazis by name earlier today (two days after the terrorist attack), but for me, that does nothing to change the fact that he has long proven he condones the ideology.