President Donald Trump tweeted support for Harley-Davidson motorcycle owners planning boycott of the company, The Hill reports.
In an early Sunday morning tweet, the president called the idea “great,” and added the following.
“Most other companies are coming in our direction, including Harley competitors. A really bad move! U.S. will soon have a level playing field, or better.”
Trump is referring to a New York Times story published yesterday. The Times‘ Alan Rappeport visited a biker rally in South Dakota and talked to Harley owners, some of whom share the opinion of president Trump, and see Harley-Davidson’s move overseas as a betrayal of everything the company stands for.
“I’m riding my last Harley. It was American made, and that’s why we stood behind them,” one of the bikers told the NYT. According to the same outlet, hundreds of thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts who attended the South Dakota event share this sentiment.
As the Inquisitr reported on June 25, Harley-Davidson announced that it would be shifting production overseas in response to retaliatory tariffs imposed by the European Union. The company said that it would take a hit of $30 million to $45 million for the rest of 2018, but refused to raise prices for customers.
“To address the substantial cost of this tariff burden long-term, Harley-Davidson will be implementing a plan to shift production of motorcycles for EU destinations from the U.S. to its international facilities to avoid the tariff burden,” the company wrote in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.
On June 27, president Trump criticized Harley-Davidson via Twitter, predicting that neither the administration nor the company’s customers will “forget” the shift of production.
The president’s predictions may be coming true, but perhaps more importantly, Donald Trump seems to have managed to cozy up to American bikers, Harley riders in particular. Just yesterday, the POTUS welcomed members of a “Bikers for Trump” group to his New Jersey golf club.
Experts have described Donald Trump’s protectionism as futile. For instance, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, economist Douglas Irwin pointed out that Trump views economic policy like a businessman would.
This not only makes him “the first openly protectionist president since Hoover,” but also demonstrates that the POTUS thinks about trade in zero-sum terms, without looking at the broader picture of what is considered to be the national economic impact of trade.
According to Fortune, Harley-Davidson CEO Matt Levatich described the president’s recent attacks on the company as “unfortunate attention,” stressing that Harley-Davidson will remain “apolitical.” Considering Donald Trump is, evidently refusing to back down, that may no longer be an option.