Trump Nominated Yet Another Climate Skeptic

As the US Department of Agriculture’s “chief scientist,” no less.

Sam Clovis with Donald Trump in 2015.Jerry Mennenga/ZUMA

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

Yesterday, President Donald Trump nominated Sam Clovis—a climate skeptic with no science background—as the US Department of Agriculture’s “chief scientist.” A former Trump campaign advisor and conservative talk radio host, Clovis will face Senate confirmation to fill the post that US law states should go to someone with “specialized training or significant experience in agricultural research, education, and economics.”

Clovis’ name was floated as early as May, when my colleague Tom Philpott reported on a slew of Trump’s picks for the USDA. Clovis, for one, holds a doctorate in public administration and worked for defense contractor Northrop Grumman. In a 2014 interview, he described himself as “extremely skeptical” of climate science. He defected from Rick Perry’s shaky 2016 presidential campaign after secretly calling Trump a “cancer on conservatism” in a series of leaked emails. His future colleagues—among them Steve Censky and Ted McKinney, both of whom Trump has nominated—have come through the revolving door between agribusiness and the USDA. They’ve worked with the likes of Monsanto, Dow AgroSciences, and pharma giant Eli Lilly.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), the ranking member of the agriculture committee, said in a statement that she has “strong concerns that Sam Clovis is not qualified” to be under secretary for research, education, and economics, pointing to his “troubling views on climate change.” She, Delaware Sen. Chris Coons, and the Union of Concerned Scientists have raised concerns that Clovis’ qualifications may not meet the minimum requirements set by US law—with the UCS even calling Clovis’ nomination “illegal.”

Want to feel sad about the future of our food, farms, and forests? Read Philpott’s full piece here.

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate