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Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

“America First” President threatens to destroy American company (Vanity Fair)

27 June 2018


Subtitle: “Trump is not handling Harley-Davidson’s post-tariffs announcement well.”

Last Friday, in a move everyone expected because it was announced a month prior, the European Union slapped tariffs on $3.2 billion worth of U.S. goods in retaliation to Donald Trump’s levies on steel and aluminum. In an effort to hit President “America First”—not to mention Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan—where it hurts, the tariffs specifically targeted Wisconsin-based motorcycle company Harley-Davidson with a 25 percent tax increase. That, naturally, led Harley to crunch the numbers and determine that the levy on its products would increase the cost of every motorcycle exported from the U.S. to the European bloc by $2,200. Rather than pass that cost on to its dealers and retail customers, which the company felt would “have an immediate and lasting detrimental impact to its business,” it announced in a filing Monday that it would shift some production of its bikes overseas, saying the move “represents the only sustainable option to make its motorcycles accessible to customers in the E.U. and maintain a viable business in Europe.”

This is, of course, the sort of business decision you may have expected a self-described genius businessman—particularly one who manufactured most of his products overseas—to understand. But as we all know, Trump only played a genius businessman on TV. And spoiler alert: he did not take the Harley-Davidson news well. In his initial tweet on the matter, the president criticized the company for making a determination based on factors that would impact its bottom line, suggesting it was surrendering to the enemy:

Tweet 1

But he evidently gave the matter some more thought overnight, and ultimately decided that an outright lie was a better way to go, telling his followers Tuesday morning:

Tweet 2

In fact, per Bloomberg, Harley’s decision to build a factory to supply markets in Southeast Asia was made on the basis of another of Trump’s dumb decisions: in this case his withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Later in the morning, the president suggested Harley-Davidson was not long for this world, apparently due to a combination of factors including pissing him off, losing “The Aura,” and being taxed when selling back to the United States.

Tweet 3, Tweet 4, Tweet 5

Never mind the fact that Harley is unlikely to import motorcycles to the U.S. from overseas plants, meaning Trump’s threat that the company will be “taxed like never before!” is little more than an angry old man shouting into the wind.”



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