Whew, Non-Scientist Up for USDA’s Top Scientist Withdraws Nomination

This summer, Americans rightfully freaked out when they saw President Donald Trump nominate Sam Clovis, a man without any scientific background, to serve as the Department of Agriculture’s top scientist. Nearly 15,000 Care2 community members signed a petition urging Congress to reject this bizarre appointment.

Thankfully, there’s good news on that front: Clovis will not serve as the USDA’s undersecretary of research after all. On Thursday, he formally withdrew his nomination.

At first glance, that might look like common sense winning out for once, but apparently Clovis’s pullout had nothing to do with being unqualified for the job. In fact, New York Magazine believes Clovis was “more than likely… headed toward confirmation” since he had the support of agricultural lobbyists.

Nope, the real reason Clovis suddenly withdrew is because his name started popping up in the publicly available portions of Mueller’s Russia investigation.

Beyond the indictments of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates on Monday, the American people learned that Trump aide George Papadopoulos admit he helped to connect the Trump campaign with Kremlin officials leading up to the election. It turns out that Clovis was Papadopoulos’s supervisor, and praised him for helping to facilitate a meeting between both parties.

While it’s possible that the White House asked Clovis to step down to maintain more of a buffer between Trump and the named subjects of the Russia investigation, it’s also possible that Clovis did so on his own accord. Reports surfaced that Clovis is currently a “cooperative witness” in the Mueller investigation, news that apparently took the White House by surprise.

Witness seems like a much better role for Clovis than the USDA’s lead scientist. He seems to know a lot more about Trump’s collusion with Russia than science after all. On a post-nomination questionnaire where he was asked about his science education, his experience in agricultural organizations and recognition he received from agricultural groups, Clovis wrote “None” to all three questions.

Clovis avoided mentioning Russia when withdrawing, instead asserting, “The political climate inside Washington has made it impossible for me to receive balanced and fair consideration for this position.” Exactly which of his non-existent credentials would have warranted him receiving fair consideration anyway? His homophobia or birther activism, perhaps?

Ultimately, good riddance to Clovis, but we are in a sad state of affairs if the only thing stopping a woefully unqualified person from being appointed to a top government position is him being caught up in a collusion scandal with foreign spies. There’s got to be a better way!

Photo Credit: Alex Hanson

79 comments

Marie W
Marie W5 months ago

Thank you for sharing

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natasha p
Past Member 8 months ago

sad world

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Chad A
Chad Anderson8 months ago

No...

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Jessica C
Jessica C9 months ago

This country is ridiculous! We can do so much good -yet don't!

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Janet B
Janet B9 months ago

Thanks

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Joan E
Joan E9 months ago

It's sad to think that the jerks Putin puts into the Trump Administration to undermine the United States are no worse than the the ignoramuses Trump would pick himself to undermine the United States.

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Janis K
Janis K9 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Shirley Plowman
Shirley Plowman9 months ago

When will this Trump madness end!!??

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Jerome S
Jerome S9 months ago

thanks

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Jerome S
Jerome S9 months ago

thanks

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