Trump ruined the good thing he had with this favorite motorcycle maker. Now he's begging to get back together.
Trump hasn't quite morphed into Lloyd Dobler standing outside the Harley-Davidson headquarters blaring "In Your Eyes" in a boom box.
But he's close.
Appearing in Wisconsin, the home state of the motorcycle giant, on Thursday, Trump beseeched the company not to shift jobs overseas.
Harley-Davidson made its high-profile jobs announcement Monday. The company made it clear it has to counter the drastic tariffs it's now facing, thanks to Trump's reckless trade war.
"It's pretty clear that President Trump feels personally slighted by what used to be one of his favorite companies, Harley-Davidson, shipping some of its production overseas," the Washington Post reported. "On Thursday, he flat-out begged them to bring production back to the United States."
"Harley-Davidson, please build those beautiful motorcycles in the U.S. Build them in the USA. Don't get cute with us. Don't get cute," Trump said in Wisconsin. "I spent a lot of time with them. Build them in the USA. Your customers won't be happy if you don't."
During a local television interview, Trump said he was "disappointed" in the iconic motorcycle manufacturer.
Trump has previously called Harley-Davidson "an American icon," and he invited company executives to the White House just weeks after being inaugurated in 2017.
And then the messy breakup began.
"I’ve done so much for you, and then this," he tweeted mournfully on Wednesday. But with new tariffs adding more than $2,000 to the price of every bike sold in Europe, company officials felt they had no choice but to move some production overseas.
During Trump's emotional week with Harley, he has gone from threatening them (“The Aura will be gone and they will be taxed like never before!”), to trying to get them to reconsider ("Build them in the USA. Your customers won't be happy if you don't. I'll tell you that."
Once seen as a huge jobs benefit to the state, now a plurality of Wisconsin voters think the state's Republican leaders gave away for too many concessions to land the big contract.
Worse, Harley-Davidson stepped all over Trump's messaging this week.
"The ceremonial groundbreaking was supposed to be evidence that a manufacturing revival fueled by Trump's 'America First' policy is well underway," the Associated Press reported. "But Harley-Davidson's announcement, spurred by the trans-Atlantic tariff fight, sent a conflicting message."
The company's just not into Trump anymore.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.