Last week, US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the creation of an undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs in the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), a recognition of the ever-increasing importance of global trade to American agriculture.
"If the president goes forward with this nomination, it'll be yet another example of blatant dismissal of the value of scientific expertise among his administration appointees", said director Ricardo Salvador in a statement. He is also considered a climate change denier, the report said.
In the same radio interview, Clovis said, "I have enough of a science background to know when I'm being boofed", though he did not detail any past research experience involving the hard sciences. Clovis is far more notable for being a conservative radio talk show host and vocal Trump supporter, appearing on various cable news outlets. If appointed, he'll oversee key scientific work on everything from nutrition to the effects of rising temperatures on food supplies. Joni Ernst. Clovis then became an early adviser to Trump's campaign. Instead, Trump's projected pick, Sam Clovis, is a former tenured business and public policy professor at Morning Side college who has hardly even published any work in his field, and has never taken a graduate-level science class, according to a ProPublica article that came out Friday evening.
The deconstruction of the administration state continues.
Fearing the demotion of rural economic concerns and harm to their communities, a coalition of rural and farm groups urged leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees to oppose the USDA's plan to eliminate the Office of Under Secretary for Rural Development.
Catherine Woteki, who was the undersecretary during the Obama administration, said appointing Clovis to that position would be like tapping someone without a medical background to lead the National Institutes of Health, one of the world's foremost medical research centers.
This undersecretary is the only one at USDA who must meet a specific set of qualifications, but they were designated by Congress "to ensure that a professional oversees the science of USDA", the former civil servant noted. "It should be a person who evaluates the scientific body of evidence and moves appropriately from there", she told the publication.
Clovis is a retired Air Force colonel who later got a doctorate in public education at the University of Alabama. And a lot of the science is junk science. "So I'm a skeptic". His 2006 dissertation was on homeland security preparation.
Clovis joined the Trump campaign in 2015, as national campaign co-chair.
In this position, he inspired controversy among the college's administration with his role in developing a Trump campaign proposal that would ban Muslims from entering the United States, a university spokesman told the outlet Iowa Starting Line.
Again, were Clovis selected for a business-related role, I could understand Trump's reasoning.