President Trump topped off a day of weird comments on Tuesday by asserting that the noise from windmills causes cancer.
Trump made the comment during a speech at a dinner for the National Republican Congressional Committee, which raises money for Republican congressional campaigns.
The quote was part of Trump’s oft-heard rant against wind-generated energy, which he blames for all sorts of evils. In this case, as he told the NRCC crowd, “If you have a windmill anywhere near your house, congratulations, your house just went down 75 percent in value. And they say the noise causes cancer.”
Trump has long hated windmills, though it always seemed as if that was mostly because he thought a windmill farm off the coast of Scotland ruined the view from the golf club he owns there. He sued the government and lost, as Don Lemon and his guest, Rick Reilly, discussed on CNN Tuesday night.
There are two problems with Trump’s comment. One is that it topped off a day in which Trump seemed to forget that his father, Fred, was born in the United States, not Germany, and said the word “oranges” when he meant “origins.” Which would seem like just a simple verbal slip, except he did it three times in front of television cameras. (And as Tommy Christopher noted at Mediate, the official White House transcript of the event tried to cover for him.)
Taken together, these slips raise the question of whether Trump’s mind is deteriorating in some way. Though doctors have cautioned that it is unethical to try and diagnose him through a television screen, it is difficult for casual observers of such a powerful and polarizing figure to see multiple incidents like this and not speculate.
The second problem is that, while Trump seemed to be playing off his comment as a joke in a performance, it is not the first time he has claimed wind turbines cause all sorts of health problems. And according to The Washington Post, one of the claims about wind turbines made by anti-wind-turbine advocates in a story Trump tweeted in 2012 is that people who work in the industry have developed “unusual cancers.” As the Post dryly notes, this claim “is not grounded in any robust evidence.”
So it is hard to know if Trump is telling a joke to a bunch of like-minded conservatives, or a confused and paranoid old man using his huge platform to pass on junk science. The former would be expected in isolation. The latter would be bad under any circumstances.
Watch the clip up top, via CNN.