'Never!': Trump fumes at Harley-Davidson in tariff tweetstorm

Dylan Stableford
Senior Writer

President Trump on Tuesday continued to fume over Harley-Davidson’s decision to move some of its production out of the United States to avoid retaliatory tariffs imposed by the European Union in response to Trump’s own trade policies.

“A Harley-Davidson should never be built in another country-never!” Trump tweeted. “Their employees and customers are already very angry at them. If they move, watch, it will be the beginning of the end — they surrendered, they quit! The Aura will be gone and they will be taxed like never before!”

In a series of early-morning tweets, Trump accused the Wisconsin motorcycle manufacturer of using his tariffs on some E.U. imports as an excuse to shift its production overseas.

Related: Harley-Davidson shows the unintended consequences of Trump’s tariffs

“Early this year Harley-Davidson said they would move much of their plant operations in Kansas City to Thailand,” the president tweeted. “That was long before Tariffs were announced. Hence, they were just using Tariffs/Trade War as an excuse. Shows how unbalanced & unfair trade is, but we will fix it.”

Trump had held up Harley-Davidson as an example of a U.S. business harmed by foreign trade barriers, inviting executives to show off motorcycles on the South Lawn shortly after his inauguration. But in a regulatory filing Monday, the company said the “tremendous cost increase” incurred as a result of Trump’s trade war “would have an immediate and lasting detrimental impact” on its business.

President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence meet with Harley-Davidson executives in February 2017. (Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

“When I had Harley-Davidson officials over to the White House, I chided them about tariffs in other countries, like India, being too high,” Trump continued. “Companies are now coming back to America. Harley must know that they won’t be able to sell back into U.S. without paying a big tax!”

He added: “We are finishing our study of Tariffs on cars from the E.U. in that they have long taken advantage of the U.S. in the form of Trade Barriers and Tariffs. In the end it will all even out — and it won’t take very long!”

Trump expressed shock over the news of the company’s move on Monday night as well.

“Surprised that Harley-Davidson, of all companies, would be the first to wave the White Flag,” the president tweeted. “I fought hard for them and ultimately they will not pay tariffs selling into the E.U., which has hurt us badly on trade, down $151 Billion. Taxes just a Harley excuse — be patient!”

Trump and Pence admire one of the Harley-Davidson motorcycles brought to the White House in February 2017. (Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

Amid his agitated tweets about motorcycle production, Trump urged followers in South Carolina to vote for Gov. Henry McMaster in the Palmetto State’s gubernatorial primary on Tuesday. The president traveled to South Carolina to stump for McMaster on Monday night.

“Henry is tough on Crime and Borders, loves our Military and our Vets and has created many jobs and a great economy,” Trump tweeted. “GO OUT AND VOTE FOR HENRY TODAY, HE WILL NEVER LET YOU DOWN!”

The president capped his Tuesday tweetstorm by trying to tie House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., who over the weekend urged protesters to continue to publicly confront members of his administration. On Monday, Pelosi and other top Democrats condemned Waters’s call.

“The face of the Democrats is now Maxine Waters who, together with Nancy Pelosi, have established a fine leadership team,” Trump tweeted. “They should always stay together and lead the Democrats, who want Open Borders and Unlimited Crime, well into the future….and pick Crooked Hillary for Pres.”

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