Mercedes Schlapp offered no answer this week when asked to back up Donald Trump’s claim that wind turbines cause cancer, with the White House spokeswoman instead abruptly walking away from reporters when pressed on the president’s claim.
Trump is taking widespread criticism for the unfounded claim this week that wind turbines cause cancer, which he said during a rambling appearance at a Republican fundraiser. There is no evidence that wind turbines cause cancer, and Popular Science even devoted an article to debunking the odd claim and noting that Trump has told other mistruths about wind power throughout this political career and even before.
“And those aren’t the only inaccurate claims the president has made regarding the science of wind power,” the report noted. “In a speech he gave last month in Michigan, the president also suggested that homes that use wind power will not have electricity on calm days. But that’s not how renewable energy works.”
Some reporters are now pressing the White House to explain the claim. When speaking to reporters this week, spokeswoman Mercedes Schlapp was put on the spot and asked whether it was true that wind turbines cause cancer.
“I don’t have an answer to that,” Schlapp answered, appearing frustrated.
Schlapp then left immediately after the question as the reporter continued to press her about Donald Trump’s unusual claim. Trump himself has not offered any further statement on the claim of how wind could cause cancer.
Question: "Do wind turbines cause cancer?"— The Hill (@thehill) April 3, 2019
Mercedes Schlapp, White House Director of Strategic Communications: "I don't have an answer to that." pic.twitter.com/cxcZHQoov2
Donald Trump is now taking heat even from members of his own party over the claim that wind turbines cause cancer. Senator Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican and staunch supporter of tax credits to develop wind energy, said the president’s comments were “idiotic.”
Speaking to the Des Moines Register, Grassley said that the president’s remarks are also harmful to efforts to spur the development of the alternative energy source. Grassley is hoping to further push for the development of wind energy, which could be a boon to his home state.
There's no evidence to suggest cancer and wind farms are linked.— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) April 3, 2019
Some believe that Donald Trump’s unsourced claims about wind turbines stem from a personal grudge he holds related to a golf development in Scotland. The government there proposed a wind farm close to where Trump was developing the resort, leading the real estate magnate to fight it in court. The case reached all the way to the U.K.’s Supreme Court before Trump was ultimately defeated. The wind farm was eventually built, despite Trump’s claim that it would ruin the appeal of his golf course.