How did a little known professor, conservative talk radio host and stoker of the birther conspiracy theory become Trump’s pick to be the Department of Agriculture’s Chief Scientist?
Sam Clovis is not an agricultural scientist nor is he an agricultural economist nor does he appear qualified for a position that, by law, must be drawn from “among distinguished scientists with specialized training or significant experience in agricultural research, education and economics” Mr. Clovis holds a B.S. in political science, an MBA and a PhD in public administration. The post for which he is nominated has traditionally been occupied by individuals with advanced degrees in science or medicine.
On climate change, he stated in 2014 that he was “extremely skeptical…a lot of the science is junk science.” Alarmingly, the Department of Agriculture division he would oversee conducts climate science research – from studying how to reduce the carbon footprint of food production to coming up with ways for farmers to adapt to more severe weather patterns. Moreover, the USDA’s Chief Scientist is tasked with administering its policies to ensure “scientific integrity” in the department. His nomination is yet another sign that the Trump Administration rejects science-based policymaking.
Clovis is a weak-credentialed and unqualified choice to be the Department of Agriculture’s Chief Scientist.