Donald Trump has many positions on many, many things. Except windmills. He hates them. Bigly.
It’s impossible to discern what Donald Trump actually believes, if anything at all, but there is one policy position on which he has never wavered: wind turbines.
He fucking hates them, though in true Trump fashion he hasn’t been consistent about why exactly that is.
Since 2012, he’s tweeted about how much he abhors the devices, which convert kinetic energy from wind into electricity, no less than 111 times as of press time. For comparison, in the same timespan, he’s tweeted about Hillary Clinton, who he is campaigning against to be president of the United States, just 129 times.
He believes they are “bird killing” and “ugly” and “ruining the beauty of parts of the country.” He thinks they “hurt tourism” and are “very very sad!” But he also said his position was about something different: political retribution.
“Wind turbines threaten the migration of birds,” he tweeted on April 27, 2012, linking to a CBC News article about environmental activists meeting with the finance minister of Prince Edward Island to discuss the potential threat wind turbines pose to the natural habitat in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
“Where’s the outcry?” Trump, who declined a request to be interviewed on this subject, asked.
His hatred of wind turbines has at times seemed to inspire fabulism.
In July 2012, he said that, “the Chinese are illegally dumping bird-killing wind turbines on our shores. Only one of many grievances—we should act,” although I could find no evidence that China has illegally, or even legally, installed the devices on any part of America’s coast.
Asked if they’d ever heard of such a thing happening, a spokesperson for The American Wind Energy Association (obviously not a group that’s happy about Trump’s campaign against turbines) said, “We have no idea what he’s talking about with China dumping turbines. He is likely confusing them with solar panels.”
Later in 2012, Trump made another claim, this time that “‘Wing bangers’” is “the name given to wind turbines by bird lovers for the thousands of birds they kill in the U.S.”
Oddly, it’s not possible to find any reference to this nickname anywhere on the ol’ world wide web. When asked by The Daily Beast if they’d ever heard of it, a spokesperson for National Wind Watch, an anti-wind turbine activist group, said, “That’s the first time I’ve seen the term. It’s awfully clunky.” The term activists do use, National Wind Watch said, is “bird Cuisinarts” or “Cuisinarts of the sky,” since the blades of the turbines slice through the birds like so. According to the Smithsonian, “somewhere between 140,000 and 328,000 birds die each year from collisions with wind turbines.”
Whatever you’d like to call them, Trump’s feud with these inanimate objects dates back to 2006, when he was preparing to build a golf course in Balmedie, Scotland. At the same time, the Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group and Amec was developing a multi-million dollar offshore wind farm near the Trump site.
Trump, ever the aesthetic extremist, was unhappy with the proposal. He threatened to pull out of his construction deal if it wasn’t stopped. “I would have no interest in proceeding,” he said at the time. “If they were to ruin Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen with that, then I would walk away. We would sell the site and go elsewhere.”
Scottish officials ceded to The Donald, and the course, whose 18 holes, Trump’s websiteboasts, “thread their way engagingly through The Great Dunes of Scotland; rising to find panoramic views of the North Sea and dramatic coastline, and plunging into the secluded valleys rich with native vegetation,” eventually opened in July 2012, but not before, amid fights about more wind farm proposals, Trump postponed construction of the space and sent an angry letter to Scotland’s first minister, Alex Salmond.