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Kiss November elections goodbye: Wall Street Journal rips into Trump for driving Harley jobs to Europe

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Donald Trump jokes with reporters after greeting Harley-Davidson executives on the South Lawn of the White House. Photograph: Nicholas Kamm/AFP

The conservative Wall Street Journal took a battering ram to President Donald Trump’s tariffs — and threat of more — saying he is killing the jobs of the very workers he had vowed to protect and warning Republicans are going to take a beating at the polls in November because of him.

In a terse editorial by the editors, the staid business-oriented paper held up the announcement that stalwart American manufacturer Harley-Davidson would be moving jobs to Europe — saying American workers are the “biggest losers” under Trump’s policies.

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“Donald Trump’s trade war has been an abstraction for most Americans so far, but the retaliation has now begun in earnest and the casualties are starting to mount,” the editorial begins. “President’s beloved stock market took another header Monday on news of more restrictions on investment into the U.S., and the Dow Jones Industrial Average is now down for 2018. But the biggest losers Monday were the American workers who make Harley-Davidson motorcycles whose jobs will soon be headed overseas thanks to the Trump tariffs.”

Noting that last year commended Harley-Davidson for “building things in America,” and called the company “a true American icon, one of the greats,” the Journal said Trump has fallen flat when it comes to helping to create more jobs at the company — and is driving them away instead.

“Harley has opted not to raise prices, instead bearing the $90 million to $100 million annual cost of the tariffs in the short term,” the Journal explained. “To avoid those trade penalties in the long term, Harley will scale back U.S. operations over the next 18 months, making more bikes overseas.”

“Harley hasn’t provided details about how its American workforce will be affected. But Harley employs more than a thousand unionized U.S. steelworkers—the very folks the President claims he’s protecting,” they continued. “Harley’s main manufacturing facilities are in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, and Mr. Trump has said the ‘big league’ support of Harley employees helped him win the swing states in 2016.”

“The only response White House press secretary Sarah Sanders could muster on Monday to the Harley news is that ‘the European Union is trying to punish U.S. workers by engaging in unfair trade practices.'” the editorial stated before accusing, “But the Harley harm is made in America—that is, the White House.”

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Adding to job woes directly related to Trump’s tariffs, the Journal noted, “The protectionist pain isn’t limited to Harley. Mid-Continent Nail of Poplar Bluff, Missouri, makes about half of the nails produced in America. But Mexican steel wire is the company’s main input, and it’s now subject to a 25% tariff… The company has already cut 60 employees from its workforce of 500, and it will likely soon lay off 200 more.”

Piling on, the Journal added that more jobs are on the line because of the president’s economic polices and those jobs are in states that Trump — and the GOP — needs.

“The damage is likely to have political consequences, as the retaliatory tariffs target industries in swing states. Wisconsin produces more than 90% of America’s ginseng, and 95% of that comes from Marathon County. The county went for Mr. Trump in 2016, but it’s now wrestling with the consequences of China’s new 15% retaliatory tariff. Mr. Trump is also going to have some explaining to do to Wisconsin cranberry farmers, Florida orange-juice producers, and Iowa soy and corn growers. ”

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Then came the waning: “Good luck to Republicans running on the Trump tariffs in November.”

You can read the whole piece here. Subscription required.

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