President Trump on Sunday morning tweeted that a planned boycott by some Harley-Davidson motorcycle owners is “Great!”
“Many @harleydavidson owners plan to boycott the company if manufacturing moves overseas,” he said.
“Great!” he added.
“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.”
In other words, President Trump is now calling for the boycott of an iconic American company, suggesting that citizens should support “Harley competitors.”
At a recent rally in South Dakota, numerous Harley-Davidson owners told The New York Times that they will abandon the century-old Wisconsin company if it shifts manufacturing facilities overseas.
The company’s decision, announced in late June, said it would shift some US production plants overseas to avoid tariffs spurred by President Trump’s trade war. Harley was one of the first US manufacturers to scale down domestic production in response to the increased taxes, which were slapped on American products as retaliation for US steel and aluminum duties.
“I’m riding my last Harley,” 67-year-old biker Gary Rathbun told the Times. “It was American made, and that’s why we stood behind them.”
Gary Panapinto,an engineer from Illinois, said that Harley-Davidson should keep its manufacturing facilities entirely U.S.-based if it plans to sell in a U.S. market.
“They need to keep them here in the United States, especially if they’re going to sell them here,” Panapinto said. “I think Trump is just trying to protect jobs in the U.S.”
Harley-Davidson stated that its domestic production facilities which cater
Harley said it will only move production of bikes sold outside the U.S. to Europe, indicating surging prices from European Union tariffs on its products.
Some bikers even told the Times that company was simply using Trump’s tariffs as an excuse to outsource production.
“They’re always advertising that they’re made in America, so I don’t think they should do it,” said one biker, Oliver Lapointe, who said he rides Japanese bikes. “They’re greedy.”
Trump warned Harley last month: “Harley must know that they won’t be able to sell back into U.S. without paying a big tax!”
Meanwhile, Trump on Saturday afternoon invited around 100 members of a “Bikers for Trump” group to Trump National Golf Club, Bedminster, a private golf club in the eastern United States, located in Bedminster, New Jersey, as part of damage control — due to the Harley-Davidson fallout.