Enlarge / Sam Clovis, then newly appointed national co-chairman of the Trump campaign, speaks during a news conference with Donald Trump. (credit: Bloomberg / Getty Images)
Yesterday, the Trump administration’s pick for a science post at the Department of Agriculture withdrew his name from consideration.
Sam Clovis, who was a talk radio host before joining the Trump campaign, had been a controversial pick to begin with due to his complete lack of experience with either agriculture or science.
But his nomination was terminated due to his role in the Trump campaign, where he supervised George Papadopoulos, the first person to plead guilty due to Robert Mueller’s investigation of the campaign’s Russian ties.
Since Trump’s inauguration, Clovis has served as a White House advisor within the Department of Agriculture.
Earlier this year, Trump nominated him to a formal position within the department: the Undersecretary of Research, Education, and Economics.
That position coordinates research within the department, and the person who holds the position is often referred to as Agriculture’s chief scientist.
The law that created the position indicates that the person nominated for it should be chosen “from among distinguished scientists with specialized training or significant experience in agricultural research, education, and economics.”
That description is a poor fit for Clovis, and several Democratic senators were questioning his qualifications prior to his nomination hearings.
Clovis’ response to questions from Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), ranking member of the Senate’s agriculture committee, were obtained by The Washington Post.
In them, Clovis admits he hasn’t taken any courses or published any research in science or agriculture.
Instead, he suggested he was qualified because some of the courses he taught included some material on agriculture, and he’d run for statewide office in Iowa. “One cannot be a credible candidate in that state,” Clovis contended, “without significant agricultural experience and knowledge.”
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