President Trump’s nominee for Chief Scientist of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Sam Clovis, is facing strong opposition from Democrats over his views on “global warming.”
“This will be one of the highest-profile nominations fights going forward and Democrats will do everything we can to defeat his nomination,” noted one Democratic strategist.
Sam Clovis, an early supporter from Iowa served as a top adviser for the Trump campaign on rural and agricultural issues.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), along with Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) released a joint statement on Clovis, demanding his nomination be withdrawn. “President Trump should withdraw the Clovis nomination immediately — not only because he is a proud ‘skeptic’ of climate change and wildly unqualified for the position of USDA chief scientist — but also as a gesture to the American people that this administration is serious about rooting out the most hateful voices in our society.”
Outside liberal groups have also piled on the criticism. The Union of Concerned Scientists for Food and Agriculture, Mike Lavender noted that Clovis as the President’s choice is proving to be “one of the most controversial nominations on the Hill right now.” Lavender contends that he, “has no experience, no training, in agriculture, education or economics.”
“If he is qualified for this job, then I should try out for the Golden State Warriors,” joked David Lobell, a professor in Stanford University’s Center on Food Security and the Environment. “Ideally, you want a scientist doing science and leading scientists. I can’t really make sense of this.”
At least three Republican senators have already joined the Democrats in calling vowing to reject President Trump’s nomination.
However, Clovis does to enjoy support of President Trump, and a powerful Senate Republican.
Agriculture Committee members Chuck Grassley (Iowa) came forward to express his support. “I have confidence that with his military and educational background and knowledge of agriculture policy, Dr. Clovis will serve the country and USDA well as undersecretary for research, education and economics,” Grassley said in a statement.
Clovis also has the support of several major agriculture groups such as the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association that argued that the USDA “already employs some of the finest and most dedicated scientists in the world. They do not need a peer,” and that, “They need someone to champion their work before the administration, the Congress, and all consumers around the world.”