Trump Blasts Harley—and Gets His Facts Wrong—Again
(Bloomberg) -- Harley-Davidson Inc. is enduring a third day of attacks on Twitter by Donald Trump, with the president again misconstruing the iconic U.S. motorcycle maker’s business.
Trump wrote Wednesday that Harley “should stay 100% in America,” in another missive aimed at a company that announced plans this week to shift production out of the U.S. to avoid retaliatory tariffs. Taxes that the European Union has slapped on its bikes in reaction to Trump’s steel and aluminum levies will cost the company as much as $100 million a year.
The problem with Trump’s tweet is that, while Harley makes a majority of its motorcycles at several locations in the U.S., it’s had several overseas manufacturing sites for years. The company opened an assembly plant in Brazil in 1998, another in India in 2010, and is building one in Thailand that it expects to start production later this year.
“I’ve done so much for you, and then this,” Trump wrote. “Other companies are coming back where they belong! We won’t forget, and neither will your customers or your now very HAPPY competitors!”
Michael Pflughoeft, a spokesman for Milwaukee-based Harley, declined to comment on Trump’s latest tweet. The company doesn’t have specific information on where production for the EU will take place, he said.
On Tuesday, Trump tweeted about two earlier decisions Harley made to open the new plant in Thailand and close one in Missouri. He incorrectly said Harley was moving production to Asia from the U.S., when in fact the expansion in Thailand was unrelated to the closing in Missouri.
Trump also threatened on Tuesday to tax any motorcycles the company ships into the U.S. That was an empty threat -- all motorcycles Harley sells in the U.S. come from American factories, and the company won’t import into the market.
“Harley-Davidson motorcycles sold in the U.S. will continue to be made in the U.S.,” Pflughoeft said. “These international facilities exist to support more competitive pricing by eliminating much of the tax and tariff burden imposed on fully assembled Harley-Davidson motorcycles imported into key international markets.”
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