Cramer on Harley Davidson: When you go against Trump, you'll feel his 'wrath'

  • Harley Davidson's plan to shift some production overseas was a "slap in the face" to President Trump, CNBC's Jim Cramer says.
  • "You know how it works," the "Mad Money" host says. "When you go exactly against [Trump], you have to face that there'll be wrath."

Harley Davidson's plan to shift some production overseas was a "slap in the face" to President Donald Trump, and the U.S. motorcycle maker should have known that retaliation was coming, CNBC's Jim Cramer said Monday.

"You know how it works," Cramer said on "Squawk on the Street." "When you go exactly against [Trump], you have to face that there'll be wrath."

Trump renewed his war of words with Harley Davidson on Sunday, denouncing the company's plan to shift some production abroad and appearing to back consumers who have called for a boycott.

Trump is attacking what he sees as unfair trade on a number of fronts. His moves have been met with retaliatory measures from the European Union, Canada, Mexico and China.

Harley-Davidson has said the tariffs implemented by the EU would increase the average cost per motorcycle in Europe and the company would need to shift some production overseas as a result.

President Donald Trump speaks with Harley Davidson CEO Matthew Levatich as he arrives to meet with Harley Davidson executives and union representatives on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, on February 2, 2017.
Nicholas Kamm | AFP | Getty Images
President Donald Trump speaks with Harley Davidson CEO Matthew Levatich as he arrives to meet with Harley Davidson executives and union representatives on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, on February 2, 2017.

In early 2017, executives and union leaders at Harley met with Trump at the White House. At the time, the president pushed his "America First" theme in trade deals and thanked the company for "building things in America."

"This is a direct slap in the face to the president that they are doing this," Cramer said. But he added the motorcycle maker's move was understandable considering Trump's tariffs and other protectionist policies.

The "Mad Money" host said he "feels bad" for Harley Davidson because he said the president is unlikely to ease pressure.

Shares of Harley-Davidson were about 2.5 percent lower in midmorning trade, and they lost nearly a quarter of their value since that early February 2017 White House meeting with Trump.

"Had they not gone to the White House in such a triumphant fashion by the president, I think the backlash would have been far less," Cramer said.