Sam Clovis doesn’t have a science degree, or any kind of background in science for that matter, but that didn’t stop President Trump from nominating him to head the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s top science position.
Trump’s official nomination gives Clovis the title of the USDA’s undersecretary of research, education, and economics. As ThinkProgress points out, people who’ve held the position in the past biochemists, plant physiologists, or food nutrition experts.
“Clovis, on the other hand, comes to the position after serving as national co-chair for the Trump campaign, which he joined in 2015,” ThinkProgress‘s Natasha Geiling writes. “Before that, Clovis was a professor of economics at Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa. He has a doctorate in public administration, and unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. Senate in 2014.”
Compounding Clovis’s lack of expertise for the job is the fact that he’s a vocal climate change denier. In the past, he’s referred to climate science as unproven “junk science.” Back in October, he said in an interview that the Trump administration wouldn’t be prioritizing climate science at the USDA.
“Whether or not Clovis acknowledges climate change, it is happening, and agriculture has to deal with that,” Patty Lovera, assistant director of Food and Water Watch, told ThinkProgress. “They have to come up with techniques to grow crops in tough weather conditions, and there are always research needs for how you grow crops in changing climate more efficiently with less resources.”
As undersecretary, Clovis will be responsible for administering policies to ensure USDA’s scientists conform to “scientific integrity.” It’s unclear how Clovis will administer those programs, or whether he will specifically seek to undermine climate science, as EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is doing with his “red team/blue team” initiative aimed at questioning mainstream climate science.
Featured image via YouTube