ACTION ALERT: Block Trump's Racist, Climate-denying Nominee for USDA Chief Scientist
November 2, 2017
CREDO Action & Friends of the Earth & Miranda Green / CNN
The Senate Agriculture Committee is expected to vote next week on the nomination of racist, climate-denier Sam Clovis to serve as Donald Trump's "chief scientist" at the USDA. Clovis is an extreme right-wing activist and conservative radio host with no science background or agricultural expertise. In addition, recent news reports indicated that Clovis may have played a key role in the Trump campaign's communications with Russia. Make a call now to oppose his confirmation.
UPDATE: Victory for Science at the USDA
Ricardo Salvador / Union of Concerned Scientists
WASHINGTON (November 2, 2017) -- We won! Sam Clovis has asked President Trump to withdraw his nomination to be the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) chief scientist.
Clovis is a climate change denier with no training in science, food, or agriculture, and he has embraced racist and homophobic conspiracy theories. For months, scientists, activists, and a broad coalition of groups have come together to demand that the Senate reject his nomination.
Emerging evidence that Clovis could be tied up in the Trump campaign's connections to Russia was merely the final nail in the coffin of this unacceptable nomination -- this is the result of six months of your persistent work. UCS supporters sent thousands of emails, flooded senators' offices with calls, wrote letters to the editor of your local newspapers, delivered petitions, organized district meetings, and spoke up loudly in defense of strong, independent science at the USDA.
This is a victory for science, a victory for farmers and ranchers, and a victory for fact-based governance -- not to mention all Americans who want to trust their food is healthy and safe for themselves and their environment.
We need sound, scientific leadership from the USDA to shape the future of our food system -- and America's farmers, ranchers, researchers, and consumers deserve no less than the best. From day one, Clovis has been unfit to serve in this important role and we immediately worked to speak out against the nomination.
Thank you for your action and for fighting with us. Together we helped stop a terrible nomination in its tracks and proved that when we speak up in defense of science, we can win.
Ricardo Salvador is the director of the Food & Environment Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists.
ACTION ALERT: Block Trump's Racist, Climate-denying Nominee for USDA Chief Scientist
Josh Nelson / CREDO Action
(November 1, 2017) -- The Senate Agriculture Committee is expected to vote next week on the nomination of racist, climate-denier Sam Clovis to serve as chief scientist at the USDA. Make a call now to oppose his confirmation.
Opposition is building to Trump's nomination of racist, climate change denier Sam Clovis to serve as chief scientist at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), thanks in no small part to you and more than 170,000 other CREDO members who signed our recent petition opposing his confirmation.
On Monday, news reports indicated that Clovis may have played a key role in the Trump campaign's communications with Russia. (1)
Clovis' nomination is expected to come up for a crucial vote in the Senate Agriculture Committee as soon as November 9. We need to build pressure now on key members of the committee to oppose this dangerous nomination.
In the past, chief scientists at the USDA have been experts in food and farming, biochemistry, public health, or food nutrition. In fact, the law requires the USDA's chief scientist be chosen "from among distinguished scientists with specialized training or significant experience in agricultural research, education, and economics." (2)
However, Clovis' only apparent qualifications to head this critical science post are that he lives in agriculture-heavy Iowa and is a shameless Trump supporter. Clovis is instead deeply anti-science, claiming the overwhelming evidence behind climate change is "not proven" and "junk science" and has stated that he will not prioritize climate change in the agency's policy. (3)
During his time as an extreme right-wing activist and conservative radio host, Clovis frequently espoused racist conspiracy theories. In a now-deleted blog that Clovis ran, he "accused progressives of 'enslaving' minorities, called black leaders 'race traders,' and labeled former President Barack Obama a 'Maoist' with 'communist' roots." (4)
In light of the recent white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, every Senate Democrat and any Senate Republican with a conscience must do everything in their power to stop Donald Trump from installing yet another unqualified racist hack in his administration.
We must act now to ensure the Senate keeps this incompetent racist from heading up USDA science policy and rejects this nomination outright.
ACTION: Tell key Senate Agriculture Committee members: No racist climate deniers at the USDA. Click this link to get started with your calls now.
Josh Nelson is the Deputy Political Director for CREDO Action from Working Assets
1. Rosalind S. Helderman, "Who's who in the George Papadopoulos court documents," Washington Post, October 30, 2017.
2. Juliet Eilperin and Chelsea Harvey, "Trump's expected choice for USDA science job lacks hard-science background," Washington Post, May 13, 2017.
3. Friends of the Earth, "Trump nominates anti-science climate denier to lead USDA Science, violating 2008 Farm Bill," July 20,2017.
4. Miranda Green, "Trump plans to nominate non-scientist to head science at USDA," CNN, July 27,2017.
Copyright 2017 CREDO. All rights reserved.
Trump Nominates Anti-science Climate Denier to
Lead USDA Science, Violating 2008 Farm Bill
Conservative talk show host has no science or ag background
Friends of the Earth
WASHINGTON, DC -- [On July 19, 2017], the Trump Administration nominated Sam Clovis, a former campaign adviser and conservative radio talk show host, to serve as USDA's top scientist. Clovis' nomination comes despite the nominee having no background in the hard sciences, nor expertise in agriculture policy.
Clovis is an outspoken climate denier, claiming that climate science is "junk science" and "not proven" and stating that the Trump Administration would not prioritize climate science in its agriculture policy. If confirmed by the Senate, Clovis would head the USDA's Research, Education and Economics division, overseeing the entire scientific mission of the USDA, including the agency's efforts on climate change.
Trump's nomination of Clovis violates the 2008 Farm Bill, which states that the nominee "shall be appointed by the President . . . from among distinguished scientists with specialized training or significant experience in agricultural research, education, and economics." Past undersecretaries have been credentialed scientists including biochemists, plant physiologists and nutritionists.
Lisa Archer, Friends of the Earth's Food and Technology Program Director, issued the following statement:
The critical challenges facing America's farmers and our food system, including pollinator declines, deteriorating soil health, and a changing climate, make the USDA's science mission more important than ever. The USDA cannot help farmers cope with the effects of climate change if the agency's head of science doesn't believe in it.
This nomination is an affront to all of the USDA scientists who work to equip policymakers with the best information available. Science is vital to ensuring a bright future for our country.
Trump's pick of an unqualified, extreme right-wing, anti-science, climate-denying talk show host with no credible science or agriculture background is a direct attack on science. Congress must reject Clovis.
Trump Plans to Nominate Non-scientist to Head Science at USDA
Miranda Green / CNN
WASHINGTON (July 21, 2017) -- President Donald Trump plans to nominate his longtime campaign aide Sam Clovis to head science at the US Department of Agriculture, despite the fact that Clovis lacks a background in science and a congressional rule maintains that the role must be filled "from among distinguished scientists."
Clovis, who has been serving as senior White House adviser to the USDA since Trump took office, has a background as an economics professor and a former talk radio host, but he has no formal background in the hard sciences. The White House announced Trump's plans to nominate Clovis Wednesday night.
The nominee for under secretary of agriculture for research, education, and economics, was an avid supporter of Trump in 2016, serving as his chief policy adviser and national chair.
Clovis ardently defended Trump throughout the campaign.
"Either they (GOP establishment) want to get behind the presumptive nominee who will be the nominee of this party and make sure that we do everything we can to win in November or we're just asking them if they can't do that, then just shut the hell up," Clovis told CNN's "New Day" last June. "That's what we're asking them to do."
The White House announced Clovis' nomination Wednesday evening, highlighting his experience in the military.
"Mr. Clovis spent 25 years serving in the Air Force. He retired as the Inspector General of the North American Aerospace Defense Command and the United States Space Command and was a command pilot," the White House statement read.
Clovis holds a bachelor degree in political science and a doctorate in public administration.
Supporters of the nomination point to Clovis' roots hailing from Iowa and the fact that he led Trump's "beachhead" team for the USDA, a crew that hired staff and begin crafting policy while USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue awaited Senate confirmation.
However, there's a stipulation in the Farm Bill that was first added in 2008 that mandates that all nominees to the chief scientist role at the USDA be a scientist -- something Clovis is not.
"The Under Secretary shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, from among distinguished scientists with specialized training or significant experience in agricultural research, education, and economics," the statute reads.
The White House and Clovis did not return requests for comment. The USDA declined comment until Clovis is formally nominated.
Additionally, Clovis has a record of denying climate change. When running for the Iowa GOP Senate seat in 2014 against Joni Ernst, Clovis told Iowa Public Radio that climate science is "junk science" and "not proven."
"I am extremely skeptical. I have looked at the science and I have enough of a science background . . . And a lot of the science is junk science. It's not proven. I don't think there's any substantive information available to me that doesn't raise as many questions as it does answers. So I'm a skeptic," he said.
Clovis' nomination to the USDA was met with some outrage.
Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware said he was "extremely concerned" about the nomination.
"The person who serves as the USDA's top scientist is required to actually be a scientist. This is not just my opinion, but also a statutory requirement," Coons said in a statement.
The Union of Concerned Scientists responded to the nomination with outrageposting a statement online: "With no background in science, Clovis -- who is also a vocal climate denier -- is an unacceptable and illegal choice for this important role that affects farmers, rural communities, and the health and nutrition of all Americans."
Clovis' nomination will go through a hearing with the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry in order to be confirmed. A hearing date has not yet been set.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.