Sam Clovis (AP/Charlie Neibergall)

Donald Trump's unqualified USDA chief scientist nominee withdraws, cites "political climate"

Clovis openly admitted that he lacked scientific qualifications during his confirmation hearing


Matthew Rozsa
November 2, 2017 3:43PM (UTC)

Sam Clovis, the former right-wing radio talk host who President Donald Trump nominated to be the Department of Agriculture's chief scientist, has withdrawn his name from consideration.

Clovis was a controversial nominee for a number of reasons. Unlike most chief scientists at the USDA, Clovis lacked any advanced degree in science or medicine, according to The Washington Post. Although he had a bachelor's degree in political science, an MBA degree and a doctorate in public administration, he admitted in a letter to the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee’s top Democrat, Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, that he had no academic qualifications for the science post.

Advertisement:

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Clovis did not mention this problem when he wrote his letter withdrawing his nomination to Trump.

"The political climate inside Washington has made it impossible for me to receive balanced and fair consideration for this position," Clovis wrote. "The relentless assaults on you and your team seem to be a blood sport that only increases in intensity each day."

Clovis may have been referring to the fact that George Papadopoulos, a former adviser to the Trump campaign, pleaded guilty about lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia. Clovis had been Papadopoulos' supervisor, since he served as the Trump campaign's national co-chairman, and Papadopoulos claimed that he was told by Clovis that the Trump campaign was prioritizing improving America's relationship with Russia.

Clovis' lawyer, by contrast, claimed that Papadopoulos had "attended one meeting and was never otherwise approached by the campaign for consultation" and that "Dr. Clovis has not communicated with Mr. Papadopoulos since prior to the 2016 election."


Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a breaking news writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

MORE FROM Matthew Rozsa

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Department Of Agriculture Donald Trump Sam Clovis Usda

BROWSE SALON.COM
COMPLETELY AD FREE,
FOR THE NEXT HOUR

Read Now, Pay Later - no upfront
registration for 1-Hour Access

Click Here
7-Day Access and Monthly
Subscriptions also available
No tracking or personal data collection
beyond name and email address

•••


Fearless journalism
in your inbox every day

Sign up for our free newsletter

• • •