Arrggh, Meet Trump’s Pick for USDA’s Top ‘Scientist’

President Donald Trump may be woefully behind at nominating people to key government positions, but he’s finally submitted a name to serve as the Department of Agriculture’s top scientist: Sam Clovis.

Clovis has the kind of résumé that Trump loves – he’s worked for Trump since the campaign, he’s published papers about the need for the U.S. to protect itself from terrorist threats and he used to be a rightwing radio show host. Still, Clovis is missing one very critical credential: any sort of background in science.

Tell Republicans in the Senate to Reject Clovis as a Top Government Scientist by Signing This Petition

How exactly does a man become a science expert for the USDA without having earned a degree in science or even had a job related to science? It’s not even as though he’s had any experience in anything related to agriculture to potentially offset that lack of knowledge.

Typically, a top scientist with expertise in food, nutrition and/or medicine is appointed to be the undersecretary of research, education and economics for the USDA. In not meeting any of those qualifications, he is what Agriculture.com describes as the “most controversial USDA pick in 15 years.”

It’s not just that Clovis shouldn’t be confirmed to be USDA undersecretary, it’s that such a confirmation would seem to break congressional rules. Congress stipulates that this position is to be filled “from among distinguished scientists with specialized training or significant experience in agricultural research, education and economics.”

Frankly, Clovis doesn’t even respect existing scientific consensus. Three years ago, he referred to climate change research as “junk science.” He also attempted to bolster that opinion by saying, “I have enough of a science background to know when I’m being boofed.”

Moving past the fact that “boofed” is not a word, we know that he actually doesn’t have a scientific background to assert such a position. However, apparently the lack of a scientific background is “enough” for the president to put him in charge of the USDA’s research-based policy, so perhaps that is “enough” to offer an opinion contradicting the extensive research of actual scientists.

Though some may be tempted to dismiss Clovis’s views on climate change as irrelevant to the job at hand, on the contrary, one of his most important responsibilities will be to help prepare U.S. farms for the coming challenges that arise with climate change. Crops that are staples to the American diet are going to have a much more difficult time growing with higher temperatures and droughts, which could lead to some massive problems.

Those who have been paying attention to the Trump White House are probably not surprised to see the president attempt to name an anti-science blowhard to a top science post. After all, Trump continually tries to slash budgets for scientific research and even asked a government scientist to change her testimony to Congress.

The Senate has not only the responsibility, but given the rule requiring the undersecretary be a distinguished scientist with an agricultural background, also the obligation to reject the nomination of Clovis. Sign this petition reminding Republican senators that confirming this pick would be an extreme version of blind partisanship that even they should be embarrassed to support.

Photo Credit: Alex Hanson

73 comments

Kimberly Wallace
Kimberly Wallaceabout a month ago

TY

SEND
Paulo R
Paulo R1 months ago

ty

SEND
Paulo R
Paulo R1 months ago

ty

SEND
Paulo R
Paulo R1 months ago

ty

SEND
Stephanie s
Stephanie s2 months ago

Bad pick. Thank you

SEND
Jen S
Jen S2 months ago

Yet one more inept and unqualified buffoon to protect the narcissist in chief from reality. Just what the country needs, a ' top scientist' with no discernible background in science.

SEND
One Heart i
One Heart inc3 months ago

Thanks!!!

SEND
Janet B
Janet B4 months ago

Thanks

SEND
Leo Custer
Leo Custer4 months ago

Thank you for posting.

SEND
Margie F
Margie F4 months ago

Okay

SEND