Read the PDF of our statement here.

NAACP Legal Defense Fund Statement on the President’s Attack on Merck CEO for Principled Stance

Earlier today, Merck CEO Kenneth C. Frazier resigned from the White House’s American Manufacturing Council due to objections with the way President Trump addressed the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. In response to Mr. Frazier’s decision, the President attacked him personally. Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), issued the following statement:

“Today, Merck CEO Kenneth C. Frazier took a principled stance against white supremacy. The President quickly condemned him only moments later; yet, it took two days for the President to summon the words to explicitly condemn racism. It is revealing that on the same day that the President purports to condemn racism and white supremacy, he dismisses and denigrates the principled decision of an African-American business leader. And yet, when other white business leaders, like Elon Musk and Robert Iger, chose to similarly resign from participating in Mr. Trump’s commissions, he did not take similar actions against them.

“While his statement today condemning white supremacy was grossly insufficient, it is clear that the President can be moved in the right direction when the right leaders demand it. We call others in business, politics, the military and more to follow in Ken Frazier’s footsteps and leverage their influence for the greater good.” 


Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization and has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.