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

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

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.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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