U.S. Secret Service orders Harley-Davidson motorcycle despite Trump's boycott calls

Patrick Leary
President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence walk together on their way to greet Harley Davidson executives on the South Lawn of the White House, February 2, 2017 in Washington, DC.  
Drew Angerer | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Less than a month after President Donald Trump called for a boycott of Harley-Davidson Inc. motorcycles, the organization charged with his protection has ordered one.

The U.S. Secret Service Uniformed Division placed an order for a Harley-Davidson police motorcycle last week, a move which documents connected to the order refer to as an organization requirement for "protective motorcade support functions." That could include protecting the president, who called for a boycott of Harley-Davidson in August in his continued Twitter campaign to discourage his supporters from patronizing the Milwaukee motorcycle company following a June announcement of an overseas production move.

"Many @harleydavidson owners plan to boycott the company if manufacturing moves overseas," Trump wrote on Aug. 12. "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."

According to the purchase order documents, Harley-Davidson motorcycles are required for motorcades to ensure the "consistency of appearance, performance, training and parts with the currently existing motorcade motorcycle fleet." Furthermore, the motorcycle order achieves consistency with the Metropolitan Police and U.S. Park Police in Washington, D.C.

Ordering a different brand of motorcycle would also require the Secret Service to spend time training its support technicians "at a cost of thousands of dollars," and motorcade support officers would also need training. The Secret Service would have to "duplicate an inventory of spare parts" if the brand was switched as well.

Moreover, the Harley-Davidson police motorcycles come outfitted with a side car, and the Secret Service would need to purchase additional sidecars to equip with a new brand were a switch made.

As for when a switch away from Harley-Davidson could realistically happen for the Secret Service, the document indicates an evaluation could take place "when the current fleet is deemed worn out and economically unviable." However, the current fleet should last "for years to come" if properly maintained.

Harley-Davidson representatives didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on the order. President Trump hasn't mentioned Harley-Davidson on Twitter since Aug. 12.

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Key Points
  • Harley-Davidson expects to incur about $45 million to $55 million in increased costs this year because of the ongoing global trade conflict.
  • CFO John Olin said steel and aluminum tariffs will cost the company $15 million to $20 million and EU tariffs an additional $30 million to $35 million.
  • The company's shares were up as much as 9 percent after the earnings report.