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Scott Walker won't defend Wisconsin-based Harley-Davidson against Trump

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker would rather stay on Trump’s good side than stand up for his own state.

By Tommy Christopher - August 13, 2018
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Former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker

Trump escalated his feud with legendary Wisconsin-based motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson this weekend, and the state’s Republican governor, Scott Walker, reacted by taking Trump’s side.

Trump held a photo op with “Bikers for Trump” at his golf resort in New Jersey, and later tweeted that many Harley owners “plan to boycott the company if manufacturing moves overseas.” Trump called the boycott idea “Great!”

Trump has gone to war against Harley-Davidson ever since the company announced it was forced to move some production overseas because of Trump’s trade war. Trump threatened to tax Harley “like never before,” and now is recommending a consumer boycott of the Wisconsin-based company.

That’s the sort of attack you’d expect the Wisconsin governor to object to, on behalf of his state and its workers. But not Walker.

Instead, Walker released a statement claiming he wants “Harley Davidson to prosper here in the state of Wisconsin,” but added that “one of the best ways for that to happen is to do what the president has called for and that is to get to no tariffs.”

Democrats in Wisconsin blasted Walker over the statement. Former state Rep. Kelda Roys said Walker is “cowering before Trump — refusing to stand up to Trump’s attempts to destroy an iconic Wisconsin business, Harley Davidson.”

And the Democratic Party of Wisconsin said Trump’s encouragement of a boycott “is a brazen attack on a Wisconsin-grown manufacturer, but Scott Walker would rather stay on Trump’s good side than fight for Wisconsin.”

Walker is already in deep trouble as he tries to get re-elected this fall. Earlier this year, a national survey ranked Walker as one of the 10 most disliked governors in the country, and the second-least popular incumbent Republican governor running for re-election this year.

When Wisconsin elected a progressive judge in April, Walker issued a warning to his fellow Republicans.

“Tonight’s results show we are at risk of a #BlueWave in WI,” he tweeted.

And that was before Walker started trailing badly in the polls to Democratic front-runner Tony Evers.

Walker’s cowardice is magnified by the fact that he doesn’t even have to face a Republican primary challenge. So unlike other Republicans who have embraced Trump as hard as they can to win their party’s nomination, Walker has no need to do so.

But embracing Trump nonetheless, instead of standing up for a business in his own state, could alienate him from Wisconsin voters, who have a very poor opinion of Trump. A July poll found he has a pathetic 36 percent approval rating in the state.

Meanwhile, Trump’s trade war is hurting Americans all over the country, and it could end up killing half a million jobs a year. So Walker isn’t just siding with an administration that’s hurting Wisconsin, but all Americans.

That could be a bad move for him as he faces a more challenging re-election battle than he’s faced in the past. And it’s definitely a bad move for him if he still hopes to have a political career beyond Wisconsin.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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