Tags: charlie dent | merck | ceo | left panel | white | black executive

Dent: Trump Took 'Cheap Shot' At Merck CEO; Left White Execs Alone

(MSNBC)

By    |   Tuesday, 15 August 2017 10:18 AM

Rep. Charlie Dent Tuesday accused President Donald Trump of taking a "cheap shot" at Merck CEO Ken Frazier after the executive left the American Manufacturing Council in the wake of the president's initial statement on Charlottesville.

Dent pointed out that Trump did not attack two white executives who also left the group.

"I was miffed yesterday when he talked about Ken Frazier," the Pennsylvania Republican told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program. "Other members stepped off and he didn't attack them. They weren't African-American, either. He didn't handle that well. That bothered me."

On Monday, within minutes after Frazier announced he was stepping away from the council over Trump did not directly address white nationalists in his first Charlottesville statement Saturday, Trump tweeted his barb:

Later in the day, Trump returned to slam Merck, calling it a "a leader in higher & higher drug prices while at the same time taking jobs out of the U.S."

Dent described Frazier as a friend and someone he knows well, and defended Merck as a company that is in the forefront of cancer medication development.

"His father was a janitor," the congressman said. "He went to Penn State; I went to Penn State. I met with him many times as a friend."

Monday night, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich and Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank also stepped down.

"I stand with others for equality and improving US competitiveness," Krzanich tweeted Monday, while Plank said he was stepping down to "focus on inspiring and uniting through power of sport."

Plank also said his company "engages in innovation and sports, not politics."

Dent said Monday that he believes Trump's tweets are distracting from the important work of the country, although he did say the president's message on Charlottesville on Monday was better, even if it "looked a little bit forced and half-hearted."

He also said it is frustrating that Trump's controversies are overshadowing the work of the government.

"We have to make sure this government is properly funded," said Dent. "We have to deal with budget issues and pivot the tax reform and infrastructure. I'm trying to deal with serious matters. September is going to be a difficult month in Washington, and we have to be firing all cylinders to get it done."

Further, Congress has to work with the Trump administration to achieve these "very important basic functions of governance," and when the focus is elsewhere, that's a problem.

Trump's White House is pushing for tax reform, but Dent said he believes "we need to back up a little bit."

"I think we need pass reconciliation on tax reform," he said. "I would not have a debate while we're doing tax reform. You'll give off the impression that we're going to be cutting taxes for businesses while removing people from food stamps. When we're removing taxes from the Obamacare taxes on higher income people and removing people from Medicaid, that's not a very good optic."

There also may be a fight over funding for Trump's border wall, said Dent, even though he does believe there will be some money for establishing more control there.

"I don't think it's going to be a huge amount of money," he said. "I think the bill passed just a few weeks ago, $1.6 billion, to help implement part of the Secure Fence Act that I voted for in 2006, I believe. I think there will probably be some border funding."

Senate Democrats also will have a say, pointed out Dent, as "we'll need 60 votes to fund the government."

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Rep. Charlie Dent Tuesday accused President Donald Trump of taking a "cheap shot" at Merck CEO Ken Frazier after the executive left the American Manufacturing Council in the wake of the president's initial statement on Charlottesville.Dent pointed out that Trump did not...
charlie dent, merck, ceo, left panel, white, black executive
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2017-18-15
Tuesday, 15 August 2017 10:18 AM
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