Who does Trump want in charge of the USDA?

Some guy named Sam Clovis. His qualifications:

Sam Clovis, a former Trump campaign adviser and one-time conservative talk radio host, has no background in the hard sciences, nor any policy experience with food or agriculture. Still, that did not stop President Donald Trump from officially nominating Clovis to the position of the United States Department of Agriculture’s undersecretary of research, education, and economics, the agency’s top science position.

You know, the conventional wisdom is that Trump won over all those hardworking farmers in the Midwest (and he did get solid support from them). I wonder if they realize yet that he’s found yet another way to screw them over? Because I can tell you, as someone living in the farm belt, farm policy matters to the people living here. They will probably forgive him, though, even as they’re getting thoroughly screwed, because he’s fucking over those dang pointy-headed liberal elite scientists even more, and that’s all they care about.

Clovis, like so many of the Trump administration’s top policy officials, does not accept the scientific consensus on climate change. In 2014, he told Iowa Public Radio that climate science is “junk science” and “not proven.” He also said in an interview with E&E News in October that the Trump administration would not prioritize climate change or climate science at the USDA — a sharp break from the Obama administration, which made a point of trying to better prepare farmers and the food system for imminent climate-fueled changes like droughts or heavier storms.

If you’d told me that a stint in conservative talk radio, all that ranty angry bullshitting, would be the new entry point into the American civil service cursus honorum ten years ago, I would have laughed. It can’t possibly get that bad, can it?


  1. says

    I’m not sure he’s qualified. Usually Trump’s cabinet picks are specifically against what their agency will be doing. So I’d expect Gwyneth Paltrow or someone who favors complete deregulation of all stupid.

  2. cartomancer says

    At least Caligula was only alleged to have thought about making his horse a consul…

  3. says

    I believe Clovis tried running for governor (or maybe the Senate seat held by Ernst?) here in Iowa and he didn’t do too well in the primaries from what I recall. He may be too far out there even for a state that elects Steve King time and again. What concerns me, then, is that conservatives will have to embrace him (as noted by PZ, to stick it to the liberals), which will then keep pulling them further and further to the right. :(

  4. says

    “They will probably forgive him, though, even as they’re getting thoroughly screwed, because he’s fucking over those dang pointy-headed liberal elite scientists even more, and that’s all they care about.”
    Ah yes, the common theme of people not caring if they get screwed over as long as someone they don’t like gets screwed over more. (see: racism) I think I’ll start calling people who vote against their interests in the interest of sticking it to people they don’t like… “suicide bombers”. Well, maybe suicide voters would make more sense.

  5. blf says

    Sam Clovis was the national co-chair of hair furor’s campaign, and openly backed banning all Muslims, Trump campaign: Nothing wrong with banning Muslims from entering US (December-2015):

    National co-chair calls Republican frontrunner’s proposal a reasonable precaution allowing the US to take a break and make sure everything is cool


    In an interview with the Guardian, Sam Clovis, the national co-chair and senior policy adviser for the Trump campaign, said: Our view there is nothing wrong with stepping back and taking a break. There’s nothing wrong with doing that historically, he said.

    Clovis said that while it would be very easy to say we don’t want any immigration from a predominantly Muslim country, he noted, there are people who have tried to commit terrorist acts that come from EU countries and that a broader approach was more appropriate.


    His page at Ballotpedia is terrifying; an überloon.

  6. magistramarla says

    I’ve made the point before that I feel that the writers of the Constitution made a mistake when they didn’t adopt the Roman idea of the cursus honorum. It seems to me that anyone who aspires to a higher office should have first proven that he or she knows something about working in public service in a lower level job before being promoted to a higher level one.

  7. numerobis says

    He knows nothing and is an incompetent fraud. That makes him supremely qualified.

    When Trump listens to the standard advice that you should hire someone who knows something about public service, he gets losers like Sessions who recuse themselves.

  8. blf says

    An article in today’s Grauniad on this loon, Sam Clovis: Trump’s pick for top science job called progressives race traitors:

    Donald Trump’s nominee to be the department of agriculture’s lead scientist used to run a blog that also likened Obama to a communist and dictator
    Clovis, previously a college professor and radio talk show host in Iowa, wrote the blog for his show Impact with Clovis. The website has been taken down but is archived.

    In a September 2011 post, Clovis said that Obama was brought up by socialists to be a socialist. His associations were socialists or worse, criminal dissidents who were bent on overthrowing the government of the United States.

    Warming to the theme, Clovis claimed in subsequent posts that Obama had a communist father, socialist mother” and has designs on being a dictator. Obama’s followers, Clovis claimed are progressive, Maoist, anti-colonist.

    Clovis […] turned his attention to race in August 2011, labeling progressives as liars, race traders and race traitors. He also accused progressives of keeping minorities in this country enslaved to government with a supposed desire to essentially eliminate people of color from the American landscape.


    Apparently, in addition to being an AGW-denier and closely-connected to the Muslim ban, and lacking much of a scientific background, he’s also a racist and suffers from Obama Derangement Syndrome.