Trump’s latest attack on Harley-Davidson makes no sense

"Harley customers are not happy with their move - sales are down 7% in 2017."

CREDIT: Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images
CREDIT: Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images

President Trump latest attack on Harley-Davidson over the company’s recent announcement it’s moving some of its production to Europe would require the invention of a time machine to make sense.

“Now that Harley-Davidson is moving part of its operation out of the U.S., my Administration is working with other Motor Cycle companies who want to move into the U.S.,” Trump tweeted on Tuesday morning. “Harley customers are not happy with their move – sales are down 7% in 2017. The U.S. is where the Action is!”

But Trump’s argument here — that 2017 Harley sales figures somehow reflect consumers’ displeasure with a decision the company just announced — defies the very notion that time is linear. If domestic displeasure over the move does indeed have a negative impact on the Wisconsin-based company, that will show up in the company’s sales figures for 2018 and beyond.


Harley’s decision to shift production overseas for machines manufactured for European consumers — a move that came in response to the trade war Trump launched by imposing tariffs on European steel — has clearly bothered the president.

Trump, who loves to brag about his deal-making skills, resorted to literally begging the company to reconsider it decision during a speech delivered in Wisconsin last Thursday.

“Harley-Davidson, please — build those beautiful motorcycles in the USA, please, okay? Don’t get cute with us. Don’t get cute,” Trump said. “They don’t realize the taxes are coming way down. They don’t realize that yet. I’ve spent a lot of time with them. Build ’em in the USA. Your customers won’t be happy if you don’t, I’ll tell you that.”