Motorcycle riders weigh in on Harley's conflict over tariffs
September 4, 2018
MILWAUKEE - Motorcycle riders celebrating Harley-Davidson's 115th anniversary in Milwaukee have mixed opinions about the company's high-profile conflict over Europe's retaliatory tariffs on its bikes.
Harley-Davidson announced a plan in June to move some jobs overseas in response to the retaliatory tariffs.
The announcement came after the U.S. imposed tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.
Bike rider Jim Nolan, who rode in from Arizona, tells Wisconsin Public Radio that he supports the tariffs despite Harley estimating they'll cost the company about $100 million a year. Nolan and others in support of President Donald Trump's tariffs argued they send a strong message to countries that have had unfair trade practices.
"It's going to sting in the beginning," Nolan said. "It's going to hurt a little bit, but in the long run it's going to benefit America."
Many others said they don't blame the company for its decision.
"I don't like it, but I do understand it," said Nebraska resident Cecil Braisher. Patty Braisher, who has been riding Harleys with her husband for several years, added: "It's a business, you have to do what you have to do."
Trump tweeted this month encouraging Harley owners to boycott the company because of its plans to cut jobs in the U.S. That idea didn't sit well riders attending the anniversary party, including Mike Kyzer, who said Trump needs to stay out of it.
"He doesn't tell me what shoes to wear, he doesn't tell me what pants to wear, he doesn't tell me what motorcycle to buy," Kyzer said. "He's the president. That's his job. Be the president."