President Donald Trump
Credit: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff/Flickr

When I saw that the president of the United States said in a speech that the noise from wind turbines causes cancer, my first thought was that 2018 U.S. Wind Champion Award winner Chuck Grassley of Iowa was going to be perturbed. Not only is Iowa one of the national leaders in the production of wind energy, but Senator Grassley is largely responsible for creating the wind energy tax credit. When the senator’s response came, it did not surprise or disappoint:

“I’m told that the White House respects my views on a lot of issues,” Grassley said. “(Trump’s) comments on wind energy — not only as a president but when he was a candidate — were, first of all, idiotic, and it didn’t show much respect for Chuck Grassley as the grandfather of the wind energy tax credit.”

Grassley wasn’t done, either, because he followed up his “idiotic” quote by issuing a press release including the signatures of Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley, as well as presidential candidates, Sens. Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders. The press release, in short, called for more federal funding for wind energy.

Trump once said that “wind farms are a disaster for Scotland, like Pan Am 103,” a reference to the Lockerbie bombing he made while opposing an offshore wind farm project near his golf course. Wind and death seem to be connected in his mind, perhaps due to what the wind does to his hair.

For whatever reason, he’s been thinking a lot about wind power lately. At a recent rally in Michigan, he told his MAGA supporters, “if Hillary got in. . . you’d be doing wind. Windmills. Weee… I know a lot about wind.”

Senator Grassley has been grumbling about Trump’s aversion to wind since August 2016, telling reporters then that candidate Trump would keep his anti-wind promises “over my dead body.” In 2017, Grassley went after Rick Perry when the Energy Secretary released a report claiming that the unreliability of wind power created a security threat to the energy grid. He’s clearly not happy that the leader of his party continues to spread idiotic disinformation about wind power.

As for cancer, that’s something you can get from breathing in burnt coal particulates. So, Trump’s preference for coal over wind isn’t just stupid. It’s deadly.

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Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at