Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Republican U.S. Senate candidate Kevin Nicholson both came out Monday against boycotting Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson, the day after President Donald Trump said it would be “great” if there was a boycott. Trump’s Sunday tweet forced Walker and other Republicans to take a position on the sticky political issue involving an iconic Wisconsin company just ahead of Tuesday’s primary where Trump allegiance has been a central focus.
Trump on Sunday tweeted it was “great” that “many” Harley owners planned to boycott the company if manufacturing moves overseas, continuing a steel tariff dispute he’s had since June with the company.
Many @harleydavidson owners plan to boycott the company if manufacturing moves overseas. Great! Most other companies are coming in our direction, including Harley competitors. A really bad move! U.S. will soon have a level playing field, or better.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 12, 2018
Walker, Wisconsin’s most prominent Harley owner, faces a tough re-election bid in November. He tweeted Monday afternoon that “of course I don’t want a boycott of Harley-Davidson.”
As I said yesterday, I want Harley-Davidson to prosper here in the State of WI — so of course I don’t want a boycott of Harley-Davidson. And one of the best ways for that to happen is to do what the President has called for and that is get to no tariffs as soon as possible.
— Scott Walker (@ScottWalker) August 13, 2018
Nicholson, who faces state Sen. Leah Vukmir in a Republican Senate primary on Tuesday. Both Nicholson and Walker backed Trump’s approach to tariffs, saying they support moving to having no tariffs as soon as possible. Democrats running in the Tuesday primary for a chance to take on Walker teed off on his unwillingness to strongly defend Harley-Davidson.
Everyone in the U.S. wants Harley Davidson to succeed. @realDonaldTrump‘s trade policies will help them succeed in new markets and make a boycott unnecessary. The President is working to help Wisconsin companies succeed and remove tariffs abroad.
— Kevin Nicholson (@KevinMNicholson) August 13, 2018
Another Democratic candidate, Kelda Roys, accused Walker of “cowering before Trump” and the president’s “attempts to destroy an iconic Wisconsin business.” Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin, who is also up for re-election in November, was more forceful than Walker in her reaction to the Trump tweet. “You can’t run our economy with tweets,” Baldwin tweeted to Trump. “Wisconsin businesses like @harleydavidson need better trade deals, not tweets and trade wars.”
— Tammy Baldwin (@tammybaldwin) August 12, 2018