SPRINGETTSBURY TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Motorcycle DNA is everywhere on Harley-Davidson's factory floor: raw steel coils, unpainted fenders by the hundreds, and gas tanks, glistening cherry red, waiting to be bolted to frames.

American flags hang from the rafters at every turn above the hydraulic presses and robotic welding arms. For Harley enthusiasts, the red, white, and blue is as important as engine size.

"United We Roll," reads one of the flags.

The front of the Harley-Davidson Vehicle Operations Center in York County.
MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer
The front of the Harley-Davidson Vehicle Operations Center in York County.

The iconic motorcycle maker, however, now faces an unlikely enemy in President Trump, who endorsed a boycott of the company via Twitter on Sunday because of its plan to move more manufacturing overseas due to tariffs.

"Most other companies are coming in our direction, including Harley competitors. A really bad move!" Trump tweeted.

In January, before Trump placed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, Harley-Davidson announced that it would be closing its manufacturing plant in Kansas City, Mo., in 2019,  resulting in the loss of 800 jobs. The company cited "the current business environment."

Harley said a facility it was building in Thailand was a "separate and unrelated issue" to the Kansas City closure. A month later, the company cited tariffs as one of the reasons it was shifting more production overseas, and Trump fired off an angry tweet, saying Harley was the first company "to wave the White Flag."

Harley, headquartered in Milwaukee, had been manufacturing motorcycles in Kansas City since 1997, but in addition to York County, also has facilities in Wisconsin, India, Brazil, Australia, and Thailand.

Harley has refrained from matching the president's escalating war of words, even after stock fell 2.6 percent a day after Trump's boycott tweet.

"You know, I think of it as a business. We we just deal with what we have to deal with, and this — we are not a political organization," Matt Levatich, Harley's CEO, told CNBC last month. 

Minnesota-based Polaris, which manufactures Indian motorcycles, a Harley competitor, is also considering overseas manufacturing to mitigate the tariffs.

Inside the visitor's center of Harley's sprawling factory in York County on Monday, one tourist laughed out loud when he learned of the president's tweet.

"Aren't you supposed to boycott foreign companies, not American companies?" asked Steve Kriebel, 43, of Harleysville.

John Mocny (left), general manager at Harley-Davidson Motor Co., and Don Gogan, vice president of operations, stand behind a Fatboy 115 in the tour center at the Harley factory in York County.
MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer
John Mocny (left), general manager at Harley-Davidson Motor Co., and Don Gogan, vice president of operations, stand behind a Fatboy 115 in the tour center at the Harley factory in York County.

Others in York County, which Trump won with 61.8 percent of the vote, weren't laughing at all.

"It's kind of baffling," said Kevin Schreiber, president and CEO of the York County Economic Alliance. "We have over 1,000 individuals directly involved with Harley in York and more to come. It's a real impact to central Pennsylvania."

None of Springettsbury Township's elected officials returned requests for comment, nor did the York County GOP. Asked for comment on  Trump's call for a boycott, a spokesman for Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner said the York County resident was discussing Gov. Wolf instead.

In Wisconsin, where Harley-Davidson has two facilities, all three GOP gubernatorial candidates said they did not support a boycott.

Harley-Davidson's sales have dropped each year since 2015 in the United States. Sales in Europe and Asia have fluctuated, but they have been steadier — one of the reasons the company hopes to make its overseas market account for 50 percent of its business. Harley has made smaller motorcycles in recent years to attract beginner riders and women and to match demand in European and Asian markets.

The Kansas City closure was a "shocking blow," said Alicia Stephens, executive director of the Platte County, Mo., Economic Development Council.

"As you would expect, the mood is distressed," Stephens said in an email.

According to the York Daily Record, Harley employed 2,000 in 2009 here. Today, the company employs 1,000.

The 561,000-square-foot York plant, which manufactured its first motorcycle in 1973, will add 300 employees by next year and grow by 50,000 square feet, the company said, because of expansion into new markets and technologies and the Kansas City closure. The plant will be the launch for Harley's ambitious plans to attract new, younger riders, executives said.

"We plan to create two million new riders in the U.S. over the next 10 years," Don Gogan, Harley vice president of operations, said in York on Monday.

Lance Oliver, managing editor for content at South Philly's RevZilla, an online motorcycle retailer, said Harley knows it has to make a change as its core riders age.

"You can't just keep building huge, heavyweight cruisers. It's not the future," Oliver said. "They are trying, and to give them credit, they've been trying for a long time. They have put an effort into expanding their customer base."

A visitor to the Harley-Davidson factory at York County relaxes on a 2018 Fatboy as he waits for the factory tour to begin.
MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer
A visitor to the Harley-Davidson factory at York County relaxes on a 2018 Fatboy as he waits for the factory tour to begin.

Harley hopes to be the first major motorcycle manufacturer to roll out electric motorcycles en masse in coming years.

"We will be launching the electric bike right here from this facility," said John Mocny, York's general manager.

Harley's dyed-in-motor-oil fan base needn't fear its large bikes are being made outside America.

"The bikes sold in the United States will be built in the United States, " Oliver said. "It just makes sense."

In York and surrounding towns, most everyone knows someone who worked at the plant at one point. At Kelly's Inn, a bar about a mile from the plant, bartender Lacey Klinedinst said she used to give tours at the plant. Her dad still works there. Her aunt and uncle retired from Harley.

"So, obviously, a big part of my family," she said.

Michael Caputo, 41, sat at the corner of the bar, railing against Trump, believing Harley riders would not support his boycott.

"Our little tyrant president has no loyalty to anyone," he said. "His whole base is literally riders. It makes no sense."

At Kelly’s Bar in York,  Michael Caputo, a York resident , talks about the economic impact that the Harley-Davidson factory has had in York.
MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer
At Kelly’s Bar in York,  Michael Caputo, a York resident , talks about the economic impact that the Harley-Davidson factory has had in York.

No one returned a request for comment at the Harley-Davidson dealership in York, nor at two others in the Philadelphia area.

At the Freedom Biker Church in York, where proper attire is "black leather, jeans, and tattoos," the Rev. Jim Quoss, who has a 1670-cc Harley, said riders are loyal to the brand's legacy, not the corporation. But when it comes to Donald Trump, he said, the devotion is even deeper. Most of his congregation supports the president.

"If Trump says to boycott Harley," said Quoss, "that doesn't bode well for Harley."