Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson strongly criticized President Trump's recent critiques of Harley-Davidson after the motorcycle maker revealed plans to outsource some manufacturing in the wake of a growing trade war with the European Union.
"I'm highly concerned with where the President is on this and I certainly don't think he should be attacking a company that's just trying to do right by its employees and its shareholders," Johnson said in an interview on The Dan O'Donnell Show on News/Talk 1130 WISN.
"I'm not sure the President, coming from the real estate business, understands global supply chains and manufacturers, and I'm not sure he really has a short-term end game plan here," Johnson added. "How does this come to a conclusion? I'm not satisfied with, 'Well there's going to be some short-term pain for long-term gain.' No, a lot of that short-term pain will be permanent."
While Johnson, a Republican, said he understood the President's goal of stopping what Johnson acknowledged are China's unfair trade practices, he strongly disputed the idea that imposing tariffs on E.U. nations and other friendly nations such as Canada.
"We need to move forward and get out of these trade wars," Johnson continued. "It's not going to be good for our economy. All the positives--we stopped adding to the regulatory burden, we made America's tax system more competitive--all that is being put at risk with the uncertainty and the risk caused by these trade negotiations."
In Wisconsin for the groundbreaking of a new Foxconn plant on Thursday, President Trump issued a warning to Harley, a Milwaukee-based company.
"Harley Davidson, please build those beautiful motorcycles in the USA, please, OK? Don't get cute with us," he said. "Don't get cute. They don't realize their taxes are coming way down, they don't realize that yet. Build them in the USA, your customers won’t be happy if you don't."
This culminated a week in which the President repeatedly took shots at Harley-Davidson on Twitter and threatened that it "will be taxed like never before" if it goes through with its plans to outsource manufacturing, adding that it will be "the beginning of the end" for the 115 year-old company.
"Harley-Davidson is simply rationally reacting to the situation right now," Johnson said. "This is highly concerning. I don't know how this thing ends right now and how it ends well. I've been saying publicly for months that I don't think anybody wins a trade war. We may lose less, but everybody loses."