Former – and would-be future – US president Donald Trump went back on the warpath against wind power with claims that “windmills are causing whales to die in numbers never seen before”.

Trump, who made tirades against renewable energy and especially wind a regular feature of his presidency, told a rally in South Carolina that whales were now “washing ashore on a weekly basis” because of wind power development off the US coast.

“The windmills are driving the whales crazy, they’re driving the whales a little batty,” said Trump, who famously fought a years-long legal battle over the impact of offshore wind turbines on views from his Scottish golf club.

His comments played into a controversy in the US Northeast about the impact, if any, of offshore wind development on marine mammals.

The latest comments and Trump’s previous interventions over wind power – the highlights are listed below – could in other circumstances be dismissed as the eccentric utterances of a political spent force, but with the former President leading the race to be Republican candidate in 2024 and given by many at least a fighting chance of beating Joe Biden, the US and global renewables sectors might need to treat them as ominous.

“It’s got a lot of problems. They have to make the windmills in Germany and China.”

“If it doesn’t blow, you can forget about television for that night.

“If you love birds, you’d never want to walk under a windmill, because it’s a very sad, sad sight. It’s like a cemetery. We put a little statue for the poor birds.”

“If you have a windmill anywhere near your house, congratulations: Your house just went down 75% in value.”

“If you believe in emissions, the fumes coming up to make these massive windmills is more than anything we’re talking about with natural gas.”

“They say the noise causes cancer.”

“I know more about wind than you do.”

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