Harley-Davidson appears to be on the receiving end of Trump’s signature Twitter treatment, after making a business decision to move some of its production overseas.
It’s no secret that Trump’s Twitter reach goes far and wide. Whether a follower on Twitter or not, the president’s tweets have been reported via news sources to virtually every American and to people around the world. Recently Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted pridefully that she politely left Red Hen, taking the high road in departing a Virginia restaurant where she found herself unwelcome. According to reports Sanders did indeed leave politely, though her tweet was broadcast to over 3 million followers, in what many have called a power move. Appearing less interested in high roads, Trump later tweeted his thoughts on the restaurant, making disparaging remarks about the facility’s cleanliness. Since those tweets, Red Hen has received significant protests and a barrage of negative online reviews from supporters of the president.
Recently, the president has made vague threats at Harley-Davidson, both in speeches and on Twitter. As is often the case, Trump’s supporters have descended upon the company, according to the New York Times. Supporters the Times calls “Twitter trolls” have taken to the online platform, smearing Harley-Davidson’s CEO and attributing to him disparaging comments toward Trump. CEO Matthew Levatich has unequivocally denied the accusations, calling them “false.” The validity of such quotes had seemingly no effect on Harley-Davidson’s online harassment.
Trump’s tweets expressing disapproval are often vague and ambiguously threatening in nature, appearing to many as a thinly veiled call to action by his most loyal supporters. His recent tweet about Harley-Davidson was no different.
“Harley-Davidson should stay 100% in America, with the people that got you your success. I’ve done so much for you, and then this. Other companies are coming back where they belong! We won’t forget, and neither will your customers or your now very HAPPY competitors!”
Alluding to sway over voters, Trump threatens Harley-Davidson with a loss of customers and potential success of competing motorcycle companies, while asserting “we won’t forget.” Indeed, many are making it a point to not only remember the perceived slight against the U.S. from the motorcycle company, but also appear dead-set on making certain Harley-Davidson also doesn’t forget their disdain.
While extremists have committed heinous acts since the dawn of politics, in doing what they believed was serving the interests of their political leaders, in recent history, American politicians generally rebuke such behavior. Donald Trump’s proactive approach to inciting public outrage toward people and entities he deems as opposition is mostly exclusive to his presidency.