Donald Trump has always been vocal in his passionate hatred of windmills, an innocuous power source he's slandered as "disgusting," an "aesthetic disaster" and "the greatest threat in the US to both bald and golden eagles," which is just completely false. This week, the president escalated his war against wind power to near Don Quixote levels—by, uh, claiming they give you cancer or something?
"If you have a windmill anywhere near your house, congratulations, your house just went down 75 percent in value," Trump said Tuesday during a dinner for the National Republican Congressional Committee. "And they say the noise causes cancer."
Let's unpack this, shall we? First of all, the real estate thing: Sure, it makes sense that home values might diminish if you live next to a wind farm. But the same can be said for any power station, and that whole "75 percent" number feels like something he pulled right out of his ass. Forget about all that, though—the President of the United States just said that the "noise" of windmills will literally give you cancer. Cancer!
It's unclear who, exactly, Trump is referring to when he says "they," but whoever they are, no. Just—no. Nope. There's no proof at all that subaudible sound (or "infrasound") from windmills fucks you up. As University of Sydney professor Simon Chapman told the Atlantic in a 2017 article about the windmill sound myth, "everyone is surrounded by infrasound every day"—and it's not killing us:
It’s emitted by natural sources like the surf, storms, wind itself, our own heartbeat and respiration. We also are exposed to it in cars, from ceiling fans, motors, and urban noise. If wind turbines were harmful to nearby residents, entire cities and small nations would be stricken across much of Europe, where we see the highest density. Copenhagen is surrounded by turbines but my Danish colleagues are not seeing queues of sick people.
Of course, that doesn't really matter to Trump, a guy who claims exercise uses up the body's "finite" amount of energy, thinks Braille is bullshit, and doesn't fuck with climate change because of a "natural instinct for science." Like he does with most matters of basic scientific fact, Trump seems to have a fundamental misunderstanding of how windmills even work.
"If it doesn't blow, you can forget about television for that night," Trump said at a rally last month, according to the Hill. "'Darling, I want to watch television.' 'I'm sorry! The wind isn't blowing.' I know a lot about wind."
Sure, man. Sure you do. But hey, seriously: Windmills don't give you cancer, regardless of what the president might say. Put down your lances and climb off your horses, everybody.
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This article originally appeared on VICE US.