CON­TRO­VERSY SWIRLS AROUND FOX­CONN GROUND­BREAK­ING

Wisconsin Gazette - - Front Page -

Fac­ing mas­sive protests over im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy and xeno­pho­bia, Scott Walker and Don­ald Trump were sched­uled to stand firm to­gether to cel­e­brate Fox­conn’s cer­e­mo­nial ground­break­ing.

But me­dia at­ten­tion prior to the event fo­cused on Trump’s tweet storm against Har­ley-David­son. The iconic Milwaukee-based com­pany, which has be­come part of the state’s im­age, re­cently an­nounced plans to move some of its pro­duc­tion to Europe to min­i­mize EU tar­iffs on its bikes. The tar­iffs were lev­eled in re­sponse to Trump’s tar­iffs on EU steel and alu­minum.

The move is not ex­pected to af­fect Har­ley-David­son’s work­force in Wis­con­sin.

In his tweets, Trump de­nied hav­ing any­thing to do with the com­pany’s move. He said H-D al­ready had planned to move more of its oper­a­tions over­seas, and he threat­ened to pun­ish the com­pany with un­spec­i­fied taxes.

H-D coun­tered that EU tar­iffs on its Amer­i­can-made mo­tor­cy­cles jumped be­tween 6 per­cent and 31 per­cent as a re­sult of the es­ca­lat­ing trade war, adding about $2,200 in cost to the av­er­age Har­ley sold in the EU.

The protesters and the brouhaha over H-D un­der­mined the pur­pose of an event that was sup­posed to gen­er­ate great po­lit­i­cal op­tics for Walker and Trump, who has claimed re­peat­edly that he’s re­spon­si­ble for bring­ing Fox­conn to Wis­con­sin.

Fox­conn also has stirred con­tro­versy in the state due to Walker’s award­ing as much as $4.5 bil­lion to the man­u­fac­turer. In ad­di­tion, state Repub­li­cans have given the com­pany waivers for en­vi­ron­men­tal reg­u­la­tions, promised it seven mil­lion gal­lons of wa­ter a day from Lake Michi­gan, and of­fered many other in­cen­tives that are un­pop­u­lar with vot­ers.

The protests, which tar­geted Trump’s pol­icy of sep­a­rat­ing mi­grant chil­dren from their par­ents at the bor­der as well as the pres­i­dent’s ban on Mus­lims en­ter­ing the coun­try, heaped yet an­other layer of con­tro­versy over the oc­ca­sion.

Walker, who has re­fused to com­ment on Trump’s im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy, has ben­e­fit­ted from vis­its by Trump and Mike Pence to the state to help him raise funds for his third gu­ber­na­to­rial bid.

— Louis Weis­berg

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