Ryan reacts to Harley-Davidson move by criticizing Trump's tariffs as 'taxes'

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanHouse vote fails to quell storm surrounding Steve King House passes resolution condemning white nationalism Anti-Defamation League calls on House leaders to censure Steve King over white supremacy comments MORE (R-Wis.) criticized President TrumpDonald John TrumpVeterans groups demand end to shutdown: 'Get your act together' Brown launches tour in four early nominating states amid 2020 consideration Pence on border wall: Trump won't be ‘deterred’ by Dem ‘obstruction’ MORE’s tariffs as “basically taxes” on Tuesday, a day after Harley-Davidson said it would begin manufacturing some motorcycles overseas to avoid retaliatory tariffs from the European Union.

“I think tariffs are basically taxes,” Ryan told reporters at the Capitol. “What ends up happening is you get escalating tariffs and end up raising taxes.”

Last fall, Ryan traveled to Harley-Davidson headquarters in his home state to tout how the Milwaukee-based motorcycle maker and other companies would experience lower taxes from the historic GOP tax-cuts law.


But the Speaker has warned that Trump’s tariffs on aluminum and steel exports could spark a trade war with allies around the world. And on Tuesday, Ryan suggested the tariffs could undermine some of the benefits of Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

“One of the reasons we did tax reform was to make it easier for businesses to keep manufacturing in America and export overseas,” Ryan said.

“There are unfair trading practices, no two ways about it, by other countries. I think it’s in our interest to use other tools to go after those unfair trading practices to stop other countries from dumping, from cheating, from stealing … but I think there are better tools than tariffs.”