The Slatest

Donald Quixote, Tilter at Wind Turbines

Scottish wind turbines, sworn enemies of Donald Trump. 

Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Through the magic of FOIA, the Huffington Post UK got its hands on 16 letters that Donald Trump sent to a top Scottish minister between September 2011 and June 2013 about wind turbines. The president-elect, it turns out, is pretty obsessed with wind turbines, or at least with the eleven that a Swedish company planned to install off the northern coast of Scotland, in full view of his world-class golf resort. “Would you put a wind farm opposite St. Andrews … I don’t think so,” Trump fumed in a screed dated Sept. 14, 2011, to Alex Salmond, the former leader of the Scottish National Party who had approved the project.

With the might of the American government at his fingertips, the president-elect may not need to print off any more thunder on his custom Trump stationery. (Salmond has resigned, and Trump’s already met with Nigel Farage about opposing the wind farm, to the dismay of those concerned about conflicts of interests and/or the environment.) But when the Donald was but a wee business tycoon, his weapons of choice were missives “couriered overnight with press articles attached to them, ‘READ THIS!’ underlined, three times,” according to Salmond.

In the letters, we see Trump frantically flipping through a Rolodex of tactics: threats, praise, reason, chumminess. His phrasings are recognizably him, and yet not quite the man we know from Twitter or the campaign trail. (In a more-flowery-than-usual turn, he speaks of “monstrous industrial machines” and glories in “Aberdeen’s magnificent coastlines.”) Trump invokes nationalistic pride, warning Salmond that “Ireland is very happy!” and that “countries, who benefit from your billions of pounds in payments, are laughing at you!” He hyperbolizes, rants, wheedles, and encloses “many bad articles on wind projects and the trouble they are having.” (There is a disquisition to be written about Trump’s awe of the press, which he cites as inarguable gospel when he’s not railing against it.)

Trump has publicly denounced turbines because “they kill so many eagles.” But he may not hate “wind farms as a concept; he just did not like them spoiling the views,” according to the media consultant Andy Wigmore, who was present at PEOTUS’s meeting with Farage. Whether his heart bleeds for our national mascot or he is just inordinately focused on appearances here as elsewhere, Trump participates in a grand tradition of elderly crackpots who uniquely apprehend the unholy threat posed by windmills. Here are some highlights from Donald Quixote’s crusade:

Sept. 14, 2011

Dear First Minister Salmond:

I object in the strongest possible terms to the current location of the wind turbines … which are only 2 km from my championship golf course … Its adverse visual impact on my development and the beautiful Aberdeen coastline will be disastrous and environmentally irresponsible …Many places that actually respect their coastline, such as Cape Cod, Massachusetts (and numerous others) have totally rejected these wind farms.

Sept. 26. 2011

Dear Alex:

Why are we allowing (and subsidizing) a company from Sweden, Vattenfall, to ruin the coastline of Scotland – let them ruin the coastline of Sweden first.

With best wishes,

Sincerely, Donald Trump

Feb. 9. 2012

Perhaps the reason these turbines are referred to as “renewable” is because every five years they need to be replaced with new equipment, or renewed … Who is going to pay for the new installations then? Not you, for you will be long gone, but the people of Scotland will forever suffer! With the reckless installation of these monsters, you will single-handedly have done more damage to Scotland than virtually any event in Scottish history!

Please understand that I am doing this to save Scotland and honour my mother.

March 12, 2012

Do you want to be known for centuries to come as ‘Mad Alex – the man who destroyed Scotland?’

History has shown that the world’s greatest leaders were the ones that were able to change their minds through knowledge. Be one of them!

March 29, 2012

I was very saddened to see that after all of the money I have invested in Scotland and the great job I have done in building what many believe to be the greatest golf course anywhere in the World, you called for an investigation of Donald Trump. For the record, I have not funded a political campaign in Scotland.

April 19, 2012

Your economy will become a third world wasteland that global investors will avoid. I look forward to speaking before Parliament next week as I love Scotland and only have its best interest in mind.

May 2, 2012

I will be your greatest cheerleader if you can change or modify your stance on at least the inappropriately placed turbines.

May 2, 2012 (again)

Scotland can never become independent under your leadership … sadly you will not be able to exist without the financial help of England.

July 17, 2012

Trump International Golf Links has opened to great fanfare and rave reviews … I read recently about the concept of tax breaks for golfing and other sports stars. It is a great idea – but a better idea would be not to ruin your countryside and destroy Scotland’s visual environment with wind turbines which, as you are starting to figure, are costly, inefficient and just don’t work.

August 7, 2012

Germany has cut back on windmills …why not sell them to Scotland if Scotland is stupid enough to buy them?

August 16, 2912

These monstrous turbines are extremely unpopular in Scotland and the rest of the World – there is a great uprising against them.

Nov. 12, 2012

As you know, a recent report showed that spoiling Scotland’s spectacular landscape with ugly turbines will cause the tourism sector to collapse.

March 13, 2013

Do not be the man who destroyed Scotland – do not be “Mad Alex”!

June 5, 2013

I am enclosing for your review a recent article on the disaster of windmills which is self-explanatory. I’ll actually be in Scotland this weekend making an inspection of our wonderful new golf course. As you have probably heard, the highly respected Robb Report has just voted it “The best golf course in the world!”

And, scene.