Now that Donald Trump has started a righteous trade war with the whole world, Harley Davidson has had to make some tough business decisions. You may recall Trump hailing Harley Davidson as a MAGA company, one that was going to bring lots of jobs to workers here because they got tax cuts.
Not so much. The company announced that they will be moving some operations to EU in order to avoid EU retaliatory tariffs.
"Increasing international production to alleviate the EU tariff burden is not the company's preference, but represents the only sustainable option," it said in a regulatory filing on Monday. Harley-Davidson's (HOG) stock tumbled 6%.
There was no need to slap those tariffs on our allies, by the way. It's just a thing Trump and his pal Wilbur Ross think is a good idea. Perhaps Wilbur is shorting Harley-Davidson stock, too.
This afternoon, Trump finally weighed in with an official statement delivered via Twitter.
"Surprised that Harley-Davidson, of all companies, would be the first to wave the White Flag," he wrote in his taunting tweet. "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! #MAGA"
What does he mean "ultimately they will not pay tariffs selling into the E.U.?" Is it just a Trumpian fantasy where everything collapses and the EU capitulates? Or is this all of a piece with the Russian interference vis a vis Brexit, where they weaken and ultimately make the EU irrelevant in order to elevate Russian interests?
Whatever it is, Trump has gone from champion of Harley Davidson to critic-in-chief, as if business and individual alike must bend the knee to Dear Leader or pay the price.