Donald Trump has reignited a feud with one of his long-time adversaries – wind turbines – in a rambling speech.
Repeatedly referring to “windmills”, the US president took the opportunity to fiercely criticise environmental policies such as the Green New Deal, promoted by the Democrats, at the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit in West Palm Beach, Florida, held over the weekend.
In the bizarre clip, Trump can be heard saying: “We’ll have an economy based on wind... I’ve never understood wind and I know windmills very much.
“I’ve studied it better than anybody it’s very expensive.”
In what appears to be a line of argument suggesting that the US doesn’t play much of a part in wind turbine production, Trump adds: “They’re made in China and Germany mostly. Very few made here [in the US] – almost none.”
According to the US government’s very own Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, this is not the case. In an article on its website published in August 2019 it states that “most of the components of wind turbines installed in the United States are manufactured here”.
According to the same article, there are 500 “wind-related” manufacturing facilities spanning 41 states. The US wind industry currently employs more than 114,000 people.
The rollercoaster ride did not stop there.
“Tremendous – if you’re into this – tremendous fumes, gases, are spewing into the atmosphere,” said the leader of the free world, perhaps summarising objections to fossil fuels.
“You know we have a world, right?” he said. “The world is tiny compared to the universe.”
This part of the speech was factually accurate.
Moments later, the fumes were back. “Tremendous... tremendous amount of fumes and everything.” he added. “You talk about the carbon footprint – fumes are spewing into the air.”
We’re not sure, either, to be honest.
When it comes to wind power, this is not Trump’s first rodeo.
In the past, Trump has wrongly claimed that the power from wind turbines cuts out when there’s no wind.
“All of a sudden, it stops; the wind and the televisions go off,” Trump said in a speech in August. “And your wives and husbands say, ’Darling, I want to watch Donald Trump on television tonight. But the wind stopped blowing and I can’t watch.
“‘There’s no electricity in the house, darling.’”
In April Trump alleged that noise from the turbines “causes cancer,” a false claim dismissed by the American Cancer Society.
He also took the opportunity at the Turning Point event to reiterate his belief that wind turbines “destroy” the bird population – including “many” bald eagles.
“Why is it OK for these windmills to destroy the bird population?” he asked.
It’s easy to mock Trump’s bizarre comments – and many, many people have taken the ample opportunities to do so – but environmentalists have raised serious concerns about his “disastrous” approach.
The recently impeached president has repeatedly diminished and denied the true scale of climate change, even going so far as to deny a report from the US government’s own scientists about carbon emissions as “alarmist”.
He has consistently pushed a pro-fossil fuel agenda, and formally withdrew the US from the historic Paris Agreement in November, absolving the nation of its responsibility to reduce emissions – making the US the only country in the world not to have at least signed up to the pact.