The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

‘Course windmills cause cancer — that’s why everyone in Holland is dead’: Trump mocked for his wind energy attack

Trevor Noah, Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers poked fun at President Trump's comments about windmills on their April 3 shows. (Video: Allie Caren/The Washington Post)
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On Wednesday night, Trevor Noah announced that “The Daily Show” had a new segment for its audience: “Donald J. Trump: Commander in Beef,” a deep dive into the president’s many enduring rivalries.

The list of Trump’s public feuds is lengthy, including the “fake news media,” the late senator John McCain and many more. So which one did the Comedy Central show choose to highlight during the segment’s inaugural broadcast?


“They’re not just a challenging obstacle on the putt-putt course,” Noah quipped. “They’re also Trump’s archenemy. They’re part of his origin story, like a superhero whose parents were killed by a very slow-moving fan.”

As The Washington Post’s Philip Bump pointed out, Trump’s hatred of wind turbines goes back nearly 10 years to when he strongly opposed their construction near his golf course in Scotland. Since then, the president has highlighted numerous faults with the renewable energy source, disparaging it as “ugly” and “noisy,” and holding it responsible for countless bird deaths.

But on Tuesday night during his most recent round of attacks against windmills, Trump cited what appeared to be a brand-new reason people should avoid the turbines.

“They say the noise causes cancer,” he told the crowd at the National Republican Congressional Committee’s annual spring dinner, punctuating his impassioned rhetoric with hand gestures and an exaggerated imitation of the sound of windmill blades rotating.

Trump claims that wind farms cause cancer for very Trumpian reasons

The link between windmills and cancer, which is not supported by science, instantly drew derision from social media users and late-night hosts on Wednesday. In recent days, Trump has faced backlash for making statements many have debunked as “lies,” such as stating his father was born in Germany and the “Tim Apple” saga.

On “The Daily Show,” Noah was quick to set the record straight.

“I’ve never heard a windmill before, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t sound like a cat in a dryer,” he said.

Noah added: “I really can’t believe I have to say this people, but noise from windmills does not cause cancer. In fact, at this point, it’s probably the only thing that doesn’t cause cancer.”

Once that was cleared up, the host didn’t hesitate to gleefully tear into Trump’s years-long war against wind energy.

“Trump doesn’t just hate windmills,” Noah said. “Like a Jehovah’s Witness, he’s going door to door trying to get everyone else to hate them, too.”

At a rally in Grand Rapids, Mich., last week, for example, Trump told the crowd that if the wind didn’t blow, they “could forget about television for that night,” drawing loud cheers. “I know a lot about wind,” Trump added.

Noah, who played a clip of the rally, couldn’t contain his laughter.

“Does Trump not know what a battery is?” he said. “You realize a wind turbine doesn’t plug directly into your TV.”

The president’s fixation on windmills being the harbingers of death for unsuspecting birds also did not escape Noah’s attention. The host played a compilation of Trump describing all the bird carcasses supposedly found near turbines.

“How many windmills does this guy visit, and why is he always going to the base of them?” an incredulous Noah asked, before slipping into his Trump impersonation. “Driver, stop the car. I want to count the dead birds.”

Though windmills are responsible for a portion of bird deaths, and people have voiced concerns about the problem, Noah said he didn’t think it was likely that Trump cares.

“In fact, to me, it looks like he’s on a mission to wipe out the entire species on his own,” Noah joked, showing the widely circulated picture of Trump next to a bucket of KFC.

For Stephen Colbert, Trump’s concern about birds also didn’t hold water.

“Here he is, attending a wake for a beloved chicken,” Colbert said, as the same photo of Trump filled the screen. “The funeral was open bucket. Rest in 12 pieces.”

Trump’s claim about cancer drew even harsher rebuke from Colbert.

" 'Course windmills cause cancer,” the host said. “That’s why everyone in Holland is dead.”

He continued: “Noise does not cause cancer. Although, I believe listening to Donald Trump might cause brain damage.”

Meanwhile on NBC, the president’s comments left Seth Meyers with “so many questions,” specifically, why were Trump’s windmill impressions so drastically different?

The host played two clips to illustrate. At the Michigan rally, Trump can be heard saying “wing” in high-pitched and somewhat nasal tone, but on Tuesday, the sound he emitted was much deeper and more similar to an annoyed cat.

“You know cats?” Meyers said. “Cats: They’re either like meow or woof, woof, woof, woof.”

On Wednesday, social media was rife with reactions, with many noting that other sources of energy, such as coal, have documented adverse health effects on people.

“As many Americans die each day from windmill induced cancer as people who were killed in the Bowling Green Massacre,” one person tweeted, referencing the nonexistent attack repeatedly referenced by White House counselor Kellyanne Conway.

When Mercedes Schlapp, the White House’s director of strategic communications, was asked on Wednesday if windmills cause cancer, she replied, “I don’t have an answer on that.”

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