Does this mean Trump doesn't love 'the bikers' anymore?
Trump's one-sided love affair with Harley-Davidson is officially over.
On Monday, the bike maker announced it will be moving production of the some of the bikes it exports to the European Union overseas, out of reach of Trump's damaging tariff hikes, which the company says will cost it an additional $100 million a year.
To Trump, however, there is no greater betrayal from the company he imagines to be his base.
"Surprised that Harley-Davidson, of all companies, would be the first to wave the White Flag," he tweeted Monday afternoon. "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!"
Whatever Trump thinks he did for Harley-Davidson, the reality is quite different.
In January, the company announced it was closing one of its plants in Kansas City, Missouri, and laying off 800 workers. The decision was due to a multi-million dollar earnings drop triggered "in part because of a charge associated with President Trump's tax cut."
Is that the big favor he thinks he did for Harley-Davidson?
Whatever it is, Trump clearly thinks the company owes him, and he's not pleased that it's making a financial decision to take its business elsewhere rather than eat the added cost of Trump's trade war.
Maybe this move will finally convince Trump that he doesn't actually have a special relationship with Harley-Davidson, as much as he thinks he does. He has repeatedly claimed that the "bikers" love him. But evidently, though those bikers aren't the ones calling the shots at Harley-Davidson.
It might also surprise Trump to learn that motorcycle enthusiasts are not a monolithic group, and even among Harley-Davidson fans, Trump has always had his critics.
George Christie, a former longtime president of a Hells Angels Motorcycle Club chapter in California, wrote a scathing blog post about Trump last year.
"In my day, we wouldn’t have given a second look to some soft, privileged, trust-fund mutt who deferred from the draft multiple times," Christie wrote. "But those were different times. Does Bikers for Trump represent what the biker culture has become? I don’t really understand it, but I would give them some unsolicited advice: Be careful what you ask for."
Perhaps bikers, not to mention employees of Harley-Davidson, should have heeded that advice.
Now, not only is Harley-Davidson is paying the price for Trump's reckless trade war, but it's now become another target of a tempestuous Trump tweet-tantrum.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.