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Windmills blow away Trump's denial of Project 2025 involvement

A brief line in the 900+ page authoritarian guide reveals the Republican candidate's fingerprints.

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Donald Trump and his allies spent much of the holiday weekend denying he’s had anything to do with a sinister conservative plan for the next presidential administration. But as I read various summaries and parts of the plan, one quick phrase out of thousands jumped out: “eyesore windmills.” 

I’ve heard Project 2025 described as a blueprint for the next Trump administration, and while that’s true, that makes it sound like a hypothetical, as opposed to a very real threat. Here’s the best way I can sum up it up in one sentence: Project 2025 is conservatives’ vision for an American society that’s a result of gutting all the gains made by the civil rights, abortion rights, LGBTIA+ rights, voting rights and environmental rights movements in order to establish an authoritarian government run by loyalists committed to serving a white, Christian nationalist agenda.  

Though the project from the Heritage Foundation—a toxic conservative think tank whose presidential influence dates back to the first Reagan administration—was announced back in April, it's finally getting the spotlight. A lengthy feature on John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight, an impassioned shout out by actor Taraji P. Henson during her hosting gig at last week’s BET Awards, and a statement from the Biden administration surely helped. But it was a media appearance by the president of Heritage, Kevin Roberts, that has caused negative attention to rain down on his organization’s own project.

Media watchdog Media Matters for America reported that Roberts appeared on Steve Banon’s show Real America’s Voices War Room the day after the Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision to grant partial presidential immunity from criminal prosecution. (Banon wasn’t hosting because he is in prison.) Roberts used the opportunity to take a victory lap for his shadowy organization—and to issue a warning: “We are in the process of the second American Revolution, which will remain bloodless if the left allows it to be.”

On Saturday Trump addressed Project 2025 head-on, publishing a denial of his involvement on his social media platform Truth Social:

Trump advisor and all-around horror show Stephen Miller tweeted Saturday, “A while back I made a video for students on how to build skills. I have never been involved with Project 2025, not one word. But keep hoaxing, losers. Hoaxes are all you have.”

This is all, of course, hilariously untrue. Miller was literally in a promotional video for the project. The plan was crafted in part by former Trump administration officials Ben Carson and Ken Cuccinelli, and diehard devotees who’ve seen how he helped realize the conservative vision for the Supreme Court during his first term and want him to do the same for the executive branch during his second. Trump’s own Super PAC is running ads promoting the project. But while the devil is the Republican candidate for president, he’s also in the details.

On page 319 of the 922-page document, the drafters of Project 2025 say this (emphasis my own):

The next Secretary of Energy will similarly have much work to do. Under the next President, the Department of Energy should end the Biden Administration’s unprovoked war on fossil fuels, restore America’s energy independence, oppose eyesore windmills built at taxpayer expense, and respect the right of Americans to buy and drive cars of their own choosing, rather than trying to force them into electric vehicles and eventually out of the driver’s seat altogether in favor of self-driving robots. As former commissioner of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Bernard L. McNamee says in Chapter 12, “A conservative President must be committed to unleashing all of America’s energy resources and making the energy economy serve the American people, not special interests.”

It’s an action-packed paragraph with so many favorite parts to choose from, but the bit about windmills is some of the purest evidence that Trump’s fingerprints are all over this document. 

First, a quick vocabulary lesson: A windmill is a building that uses wind to grind grain into flour. To be clear, that is not what Project 2025 is referring to. No, they’re talking about wind turbines, which use wind to make electricity. 

So why would a document from a respected [in some circles] think tank include such an obvious error? The answer is that Trump has been in a years-long fight with wind turbines while insisting on referring to them as windmills. 

In a 2020 speech, Trump declared: “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. And of course it’s like a graveyard for birds.” And in a speech last year he claimed: “The windmills aren’t working, the most expensive form of energy ever,” adding that these machines are “driving whales crazy.” It should go without saying that there is no factual basis for any of Trump’s wind-related claims.

But Trump’s most consistent complaint about wind turbines neé windmills is that they’re just plain ugly. 

When he began constructing a golf course in 2011 on a piece of land he owned in Scotland, he filed a complaint against the country’s government about “the horrible idea of building ugly wind turbines directly off Aberdeen’s beautiful coastline.” Trump testified in 2012 before the Scottish Parliament stating, “windmills are so unattractive, so ugly, so noisy and so dangerous that, if Scotland does this, I think that Scotland will be in serious trouble.”

It should also go without saying that his complaint ended up having no impact.

Trump also tweeted this in 2012:

And in the subsequent years, Trump has continued to rail against the unsightly structures at campaign rallies and fundraisers. “I’ve seen the most beautiful fields, farms, fields — most gorgeous things you’ve ever seen, and then you have these ugly things going up,” he said of the turbines in a 2019 speech.

But it wouldn’t be a Trump issue if there wasn’t an element of retribution involved: wind energy has been a large part of Biden’s sustainable energy efforts, and Trump and his allies naturally seek to roll back progress. Per a February POLITICO story:

The prospect of a second Trump administration is emerging at a time when wind projects are caught in the middle of a struggle between Democrats and Republicans over how to rewrite federal permitting rules for energy infrastructure. Both parties agree on the need to approve energy projects more quickly — but the parties’ priorities remain far apart, as Republicans focus on smoothing the path for pipelines and natural gas export terminals while most Democrats emphasize electricity transmission projects to carry wind, solar and other renewable power.

Even with that debate unsettled, Biden has aimed to jump-start offshore wind — approving six commercial-scale projects in the past three years, making the industry a central element of his climate agenda.

As Trump and friends continue to deny his attachment to Project 2025, one need not look any further than Agenda 47, the official official Trump campaign second term plan, to match the windmill reference. In his video on energy and electricity, Trump states, “We have to have affordable energy. Right now we have energy that's weak, substandard, and unaffordable. It's made by the wind. The windmills rust. They rot. They kill the birds. It's the most expensive energy there is.” 

During a June 22nd MSNBC appearance, the Heritage Foundations’ Kevin Roberts said in response to a question from host Symone Sanders about Project 2025’s supposed nonpartisan nature, “We can’t be tied to one candidate. We have offered a briefing of Project 2025 dating back to last year to every candidate for the presidency, including President Biden. Honest to goodness, I would’ve been thrilled if President Biden and his team asked for a briefing.”

But one candidate can’t stop sputtering about windmills like a tourist in the Netherlands while the other has a history of using wind turbines to create renewable energy. There is absolutely no question for which candidate Project 2025 was written.

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