President Trump’s nominee for the top science position in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has admitted that he has no credentials in the hard sciences.
Sam Clovis, co-chairman for Trump’s former campaign co-chairman, has been nominated as USDA undersecretary for research, a position that is typically held by individuals with advanced degrees and extensive experience in agricultural sciences.
In a letter to Sen. Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowDemocrats introduce public option health care bill Kid Rock: ‘F— no, I’m not running for Senate’ ACA as a whole is too difficult to fix; let’s work on individual parts MORE (D-Mich.), the ranking member of the Senate agriculture committee, obtained by The Washington Post, Clovis responded “none” to questions about how many graduate level courses he has taken in natural science, and any membership or leadership roles he has held in agricultural scientific organizations.
He also writes that he has not received any awards, designations or academic recognition related to agricultural scientist.
Clovis also confirms in the letter that he has not published any articles in scientific peer-reviewed publications or had any experience as a peer reviewer or editor of such publications.
Clovis writes in the letter that his agricultural experience comes from his 17 years of teaching, contributing to the undergraduate agricultural program at Morningside College, and running for statewide office in Iowa.
“One cannot be a credible candidate [in] that state without significant agricultural experience and knowledge,” he writes.
In a statement to the Post, Stabenow said that Clovis’s own words show that he “does not meet the basic qualifications” for his nomination.
“This fact alone should disqualify him, not to mention his long history of politically charged comments and the recent questions surrounding his time as co-chair of the Trump campaign,” Stabenow said.
Clovis has come under scrutiny after it was reported that he told George Papadopoulos, who has pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents, to meet with Russians during the campaign.
Clovis has also been criticized for homophobic comments made in the past and for saying that scientific consensus about the harm of human-generated greenhouse gas emissions is “not proven.”