Soon after the company's announcement, Trump weighed in with typical bombast.
Trump continued his tweetstorm by saying "A Harley-Davidson should never be built in another country - never!" On Wednesday, Trump again took to Twitter to urge the company not to move any of its operations overseas and warning "we won't forget" the decision.
"If they move, watch, it will be the beginning of the end - they surrendered, they quit!" "Harley must know that they won't be able to sell back into U.S.without paying a big tax!"
He said the company has been working with Twitter to see if the tweets could be removed and to figure out where they originated.
Now the European Union has made a decision to target Harley for increased tariffs in response to Trump's trade war.
It forecast that the trading bloc's tariffs - introduced as a counter to Trump's tariffs on some EU-produced metals - would cost the company $90-100m a year. S&P warned in January it was anxious about Harley-Davidson's sales declines.
"We need to be there and be relevant", Levatich said.
Then it appeared as if Harley-Davidson's chief executive was punching back with a quote disparaging Trump. That was long before Tariffs were announced. To avoid raising its prices and risk losing business in the valuable European market, Harley-Davidson said it would shift some bike production overseas. This would effectively allow the company to import motorcycles into Europe without having to face an overall tariff of 31 percent.
The EU responded to United States tariffs on steel and aluminium, but hitting a series of American products with import taxes, including motorcycles, bourbon and blue jeans.
The company has said ramping up production overseas could take at least nine to 18 months. The EU raised an existing tariff it had on the company's motorcycles by nearly five times in retaliation for the U.S.' tariffs on EU aluminum and steel.
Morningstar Equity Research said in a note that the tariffs might "temporarily" hamper some of the company's planned growth initiatives.
"I fought hard for them and ultimately they will not pay tariffs selling into the European Union, which has hurt us badly on trade, down $151 Billion. Hence, they were just using Tariffs/Trade War as an excuse", he said. Trump said in a post on Twitter on Monday night. Trump has frequently championed the Wisconsin company as a success story in domestic manufacturing and hosted Harley-Davidson executives, including Levatich, at the White House, where the president called the firm a "true American icon".
The iconic motorcycle brand is the latest U.S. corporation to run afoul of the U.S. president, who has attacked Amazon as a tax dodger and scamming the U.S. Postal Service.
He has also complained about the high costs of Boeing's replacements for Air Force One aircraft, urging the federal government to cancel the order.