Dear Wisconsin Harley-Davidson Workers: What In God’s Name Makes You Think Donald Trump Cares About You?

As you can probably imagine, the Harley-Davidson news wasn’t well received by motorcycle enthusiast, expert business bankrupter and man who allegedly robbed thousands of would-be students in a massive for-profit college scam, Donald Trump.

Harley of course announced plans to move some production to Europe on Monday in what amounted to the latest evidence that Trump’s trade “strategy” is backfiring.

That was hilariously ironic considering all the fun pictures Trump took last year standing proudly beside a bunch of Hogs. Let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we? This is from February 2017:

Here’s a transcript of those remarks from the White House:

THE PRESIDENT:  So it’s great to have Harley-Davidson.  What a great, great group of people and what a fantastic job you do.  And thank you for all of the votes you gave me in Wisconsin.  Some people thought that was an upset; I thought we were going to win it.  From the beginning, we thought we were going to win it.

Harley-Davidson is a true American icon, one of the greats.  Your motorcycles have carried American servicemembers in the war – in the wars.  They take care of our police officers.  And I see it so often – whenever I go – whenever there’s a motorcycle group, oftentimes it’s a Harley.  And the sound of that Harley is a little different, I have to tell you.  It’s really good.

So thank you, Harley-Davidson, for building things in America.  And I think you’re going to even expand – I know your business is now doing very well and there’s a lot of spirit right now in the country that you weren’t having so much in the last number of months that you have right now.  You see what’s happening.

“We want to make it easier for business to create more jobs and more factories to be made in the U.S. and you’re a great example of that,” Trump also said at that meeting.

Oh, what a difference 15 months makes.

Fast forward to June of this year and that plan to “make it easier for business to create more jobs and more factories” includes forcing them into a situation where retaliatory tariffs effectively shut them out of entire foreign markets. Here’s what Harley said in a filing on Monday for those who missed it:

In the near-term, the company will bear the significant impact resulting from these tariffs, and the company estimates the incremental cost for the remainder of 2018 to be approximately $30 to $45 million. On a full-year basis, the company estimates the aggregate annual impact due to the EU tariffs to be approximately $90 to $100 million.


And the truly sad thing about this whole debacle is that workers in Wisconsin are too goddamn stupid to understand what’s going on. Someone won’t like that characterization, but it’s the truth and as ridiculous as this sounds, I’m not trying to be condescending there.

Read the following excerpts from a piece published today by FT (and do yourself a favor: click through to FT and read the whole thing):

It is time for a smoke break at the Harley-Davidson power-train facility in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, and the talk is all about tariffs. The men and women who build these famous American motorcycles are weighing the latest unintended consequence of Donald Trump’s presidency: the possibility they could lose their jobs because of a tit-for-tat trade war that has caught the Harley in its crossfire.

The workers gathered outside the factory gate could end up as collateral damage, but most are sticking by their man regardless. Wearing earphones draped around their necks and safety blinders on their glasses, most happily volunteer that they voted for Mr Trump and would do so again – tariffs or no tariffs. “He wouldn’t do it unless it needed to be done, he’s a very smart businessman,” said one Harley employee whose name is embroidered on his work shirt – though he asks not to be quoted by name.

Asked whether they blame the president or the EU for causing Harley’s offshoring decision, most say emphatically that they blame only the Europeans. “The president was just trying to save the US aluminium and steel industry,” said one approvingly.

How fucking sad is that, right? I’ve said this over and over and over again over the past two years and I’ll say it again: the greatest tragedy of this entire presidency is that Donald Trump has convinced everyday Americans that somehow, the man for the job when it comes to resurrecting Middle America is a notoriously narcissistic billionaire with a history of demonstrating a complete and utter lack of regard for anyone but himself and who has, on too many occasions to count (literally), proven himself to be one of the worst businessmen in the history of high profile businessmen.

There is nothing about Donald Trump’s past that suggest he cares about blue collar workers – nothing. In fact, it’s precisely the opposite.

On the business front, his track record is horrendous. He’s been a miserable failure at virtually everything he’s tried and it is almost certain that he would be richer today had he put his fortune in an index fund and left it alone decades ago (of course you could say that for a lot of us, but you get the point).

Of course instead of owning up to the fact that Harley is being forced to do this, Trump is going to instead accuse the company of lying about its own business. Here he is:


Almost all of that is lies. Demonstrable, bald-faced lies.

For one thing, “they” will not “pay tariffs” – you will. Companies will pass these costs on to consumers. Period. That’s how this works.

As Reuters reminds you, “in late April, Harley said Trump’s metal tariffs would inflate its costs by $15 million to $20 million this year on top of already rising raw material prices that it expected at the start of the year.” So this is a double-whammy for them.

When that worker cited by FT talks about Trump “just trying to save the US aluminum and steel industry,” I certainly hope that person is apprised of the disparity between how many people work in the aluminum and steel industry and how many people work in downstream jobs that rely on cheap inputs. Recall this from Barclays:

The steel and aluminum manufacturing industries are smaller employers than the industries that use these metals as inputs (Figure 1). Over time, tariffs may be deleterious to regions where Trump enjoys strong support.


Dear Wisconsin Harley workers: see that “total employed” number for “motor vehicles and parts” figure? Yeah, that’s you. And you’re about to get fucked. So I hope some of those steel mills that Trump has “saved” are hiring.

To add insult to injury, you’re going to be paying more for the things you buy (that’s the bit above about how it’s not a “they” issue when it comes to paying tariffs, it’s a “you” issue, whether you realize it or not). Some companies have more capacity to absorb this than others, but the bottom line is that the products that everyday Americans purchase are going to eventually get more expensive if Trump doesn’t stop this.

Additionally, Trump is accusing Harley of lying. This is demagoguery at its finest. You try to distort the truth and then, when someone does something that’s out of your control and thus can’t be spun, you simply accuse them of ulterior motives. He is actually accusing Harley of lying to their employees (“using the tariffs/trade war as an excuse”). That means that when people like the gullible fuckers quoted in that FT article excerpted above get fired, they’ll end up blaming Harley and Europe for something that Donald Trump did.

This is wildly unfortunate and it’s the very definition of one of Trump’s favorite Twitter hashtags: “#Sad”.

Look at this moron and tell me if you think he gives a damn about Harley:


Oh, and just in case you need further evidence of Trump’s fickle demeanor and thin skin, he is now predicting “the beginning of the end” for Harley:

Speak your mind

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

21 thoughts on “Dear Wisconsin Harley-Davidson Workers: What In God’s Name Makes You Think Donald Trump Cares About You?

  1. Not only is it sad, but it speaks to the power of narrative over reality. H-D workers want their jobs but are happy with Trump’s tariffs. Greeks and Italians want economic growth but are happy with the EUR. This is only going to get worse as we march further into the post-truth world.

  2. The problem isn’t that Trump doesn’t give a damn about us beyond what we can do for him, if anything.

    The problem is that NO politician does. Lying and manipulation and con is the game, and Trump is one of today’s best…and Obama before him, and Bush, and Clinton, and Bush Sr., and Reagan, etc etc.

    So make your argument and call us idiots. Fine. This market is still getting what it deserves regardless.

    1. Seeing as the U.S. economy is doing better than it EVER has, and is projected to continue to do well for at least the next 3 years, it seems Trump knows a bit more about business than you and the fading concern known as Harley-Davidson. Let’s see how this tariff thing actually plays out before making silly claims that he doesn’t know what he’s doing. Also keep in mind, every president has made mistakes and Trump is no exception. What makes a president great is not how few mistakes he makes, but how he turns mistakes into success. Let us watch and see.

      1. Let’s see, 2.0% GDP in Q1, probably 2.8% Q2 (check out the latest Personal Income and Outlays), so 2.4% first half. And lets not forget falling middle class earning YoY. Yup, happy days are here again.

      2. so assface says the economy has never been better — and FOX cheers his lie, as usual — and you buy it hook, line and sinker and you don’t stop there. You come here and make a ridiculous comment and support the lying bastard? You don’t have a clue as to what you speak of. You did select the most appropriate screen name because YouAreNotThatSmart.

        Here’s your test: name 3 things assface has done that is called a WIN. How much time will you need?
        Your next question is to name 3 reasons you don’t like President Obama, specific reasons, not the mouth mush you have used so far.

        tic toc …

        1. Let me guess for him

          black, black and oh yeah, black

          Sadly I doubt “not smart” is well rounded. Toggling between breitbart and sputnik does not give much of a world view.

  3. To compare Trump’s criminally insane behavior which is exclusively focused on enriching himself and his family, bolstering his name, brand and ego, and protecting himself from all law to “Obama before him, and Bush, and Clinton, and Bush Sr., and Reagan, etc etc., clearly misses the demonstrable overwhelming evidence that we don’t deal here with a “politician.” No!! We deal here with a criminal who managed to obtain the majority of the electoral votes and is operating a criminal enterprise shielded by and using the levers of power offered by the presidency.

      1. Well, YouAreNotThatSmart, the evidence is palpable. There’s never been so much evidence demonstrating that I what I wrote happens to be the truth. Yet, no matter what I write, no matter what truth is set forth beyond a reasonable doubt to establish what is obvious to all with an open mind, someone like
        YouAreNotThatSmart, will hold on to their most tightly held views as though your views were your brains, balls and blood. And so I find having discussions with men named YouAreNotThatSmart, WhoAreNotThatSmart — and use language like “And you’re a fucking idiot,” to make a point, and hedges by saying it “seems Trump knows a bit more about business than you,” a man who has gone bankrupt five times, has been sued 3500 times and is a gloabally known liar and cheat — quite wasteful. So, arrivederci,YouAreNotThatSmart!!

  4. My wife said it 15 months ago when a pending ACA repeal was going to cost a friend some real money. “if you vote for the party of mean, don’t be surprised when they are mean to you”.

    1. And yet there are people getting fucked over daily by Obama to this day and he hasn’t been in office for over year. What a great guy. And you’re a fucking idiot.

      1. So people are people getting fucked over daily by Obama who hasn’t been in office for years, but Trump is killing on the economy the day he toke office. You are, not that smart.

  5. Yes, they should all stand and take the hit to their business, without complaint or effort to save their company — because that’s what Trump would have done in their place.

    Now Donald is threatening to completely destroy a company who he only partially destroyed with his tariffs? A company who supported him? A company that Americans love?

    He’s helping the Europeans make their targeted tariffs more successful? In a swing state?

    Yes I know his mind is tiny, but how tiny is it?

    Keep it up Donald — I guess – I hate to see an American Icon hurt, but if it wokes more voters….


  6. Excellent editorial and one that lays out the truth quite plain for all, of course these workers have the right to believe what they will but ignorance is never a virtue and anyone who remains so blind deserves what they get. Trump is the idiot we all feared but perhaps the saddest part is that he triumphed on the backs of the unwise who will now suffer the same misery and agony as the rest of us.

  7. We know his ‘successful business man’ history is pretty much all pretend, lie and cheat — here is a really fun to read piece about his 6 bankruptcies, short paragraph on each AND THEN at the bottom of the article you will find some trump thumbnail selections that will make your day! LOL! Each thumbnail story that you open and read is excellent and there are more thumbnails at the bottom of each of them. Too hard to pick a favorite! ENJOY!!

  8. The money shot one more time: “The men and women who build these famous American motorcycles are weighing the latest unintended consequence of Donald Trump’s presidency: the possibility they could lose their jobs because of a tit-for-tat trade war that has caught the Harley in its crossfire.” * * *. “[M]ost happily volunteer that they voted for Mr Trump and would do so again – tariffs or no tariffs.”

    I do not begrudge them their vote one bit.
    I do not feel sorry for them if they lose their job either.
    They do it for a cause they believe in.

    They are entitled to believe in Trump, whether it’s because of his views on race, immigration, trade and tariffs, tax cuts for the rich, bringing back the dreaded pre-existing exclusions clauses in insurance policies, doing away with medicaid for their grandparents, siblings, mothers and fathers, gutting health coverage, making sure workers can’t sue in class actions and are stuck with one sided arbitration proceedings, killing off unions, family leave, day care, minimum wage, and all the other fantastic benefits that rich folk love to make sure workers of America have first.

NEWSROOM crewneck & prints