“Sam Clovis was almost a comically bad nominee, even for this administration.”
— Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), in a statement.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s chief scientist nominee, Sam Clovis, who now serves as the agency’s senior White House adviser, confirmed in an Oct. 17 letter obtained by the Washington Post that he has no academic credentials in either science or agriculture.
The 2008 farm bill specifies that appointees to the position should be chosen “from among distinguished scientists with specialized training or significant experience in agricultural research, education, and economics,” given that the official is “responsible for the coordination of the research, education, and extension activities of the Department.”
Update: The Washington Post reports Clovis has withdrawn his nomination.
“Sam Clovis, the former top Trump campaign official who supervised a man now cooperating with the FBI’s Russia investigation, was questioned last week by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team and testified before the investigating grand jury,” NBC News reports.
“George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in July and began cooperating with agents… The court documents unsealed Monday describe emails between Papadopoulos and an unnamed ‘campaign supervisor.’ The supervisor responded ‘Great work’ after Papadopoulos discussed his interactions with Russians who wanted to arrange a meeting with Trump and Russian leaders.”
Sam Clovis, President Trump’s pick to be chief scientist for the Department of Agriculture, “has argued that homosexuality is a choice and that the sanctioning of same-sex marriage could lead to the legalization of pedophilia,” CNN reports.
“Clovis made the comments between 2012 and 2014 in his capacity as a talk radio host, political activist, and briefly as a candidate for US Senate in Iowa. His nomination has drawn criticism from Senate Democrats, who argue his lack of scientific background makes him unqualified for the USDA post overseeing science.”
Sam Clovis, President Trump’s pick to be chief scientist for the Department of Agriculture, pushed unfounded theories about then-President Obama’s upbringing, CNN reports.
A review of Clovis’s writings and radio broadcasts during 2012 and 2013 has found that he “regularly engaged with fringe theories that were prevalent in the right-wing radio and blogosphere during Obama’s presidency.”
One more thing: He’s not a scientist either.
“Leaked emails show that the Iowan who is Donald Trump’s new national co-chairman was throwing bombs at him as recently as last month, expressing grave misgivings about the authenticity of Trump’s religious faith and his conservatism,” the Des Moines Register reports.
Sam Clovis defected from Rick Perry’s team “at a time when the former Texas governor has been struggling to cover his campaign aides’ salaries. Iowa Republicans said Wednesday that Clovis’ move raises questions about how he reconciles endorsing Trump with his previous stances and statements, and whether he was motivated less by ideology and more by the promise of a big paycheck from a business mogul who has said he is willing to spend as much as a billion dollars to get elected.”