It’s uncommon for the USDA chief post announcement to grab headlines but it seems scoring attention points is one of this administration’s top agenda.
Reactions of varying degrees of contempt and disapproval buzzed within online forums and memes made viral rounds as President Trump announces his nomination of his previous Iowa campaign manager Sam Clovis for the USDA chief post.
The issue? The nominee is professionally unqualified.Get USDA loan rates today!
Let’s lay down the facts straight.
Clovis, who is the White House’s current liaison to the USDA, do have a doctorate degree. In fact, he has an MBA and a Ph.D. in public administration. Furthermore, he served for 25 years in the US Air Force and had various stints teaching economics in Iowa’s Morningside College.
If you look at it, the nominee actually has impressive educational and professional records. So what are the people complaining about?
“He is not a scientist,” reads one article reporting for the issue.
While he does hold a doctorate, it does not fit with the USDA chief’s responsibility of overseeing the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the Agricultural Research Service, the Economic Research Service, and the National Agricultural Statistics Service.
This job means taking the driver’s seat of an agency whose main role is science and regulation, with research at its core. That’s a $3 billion dollar science budget in the hands of a non-scientist who has strong beliefs against climate change.
Not a believer
Back in 2014, Clovis publicly voiced his stance on the subject via a radio station.
“I have looked at the science and I have enough of a science background to know when I’m being boofed. And a lot of what we see is junk science,” Clovis said.
This, despite the abundance of scientific literature pointing to human activity as a major driver in warming the planet – evidence that are supported by data from the likes of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA.
“It’s not proven; I don’t think there’s any substantive information available to me that doesn’t raise as many questions as it does answers. So I’m a skeptic,” he adds.
This is not the sole controversial stance of the nominee on sensitive topics of national importance – a fact that might have landed him the support of the equally controversial POTUS.
Some reports claim that Clovis ran a blog post heavily charged with racial insensitivity and homophobia.
Many of those who are against the nomination are concerned about what would happen to the agency under Clovis’s grip given his previous brush with the department hinted potential doomsday for American farmers.
During his time as a senate candidate, the nominee questioned the value of federally-subsidized crop insurance relied on by many farmers.
“If he makes decisions on the basis of loyalty to a new president or political ideology, we’re afraid this is just going to be very noxious to responsible, science-based decision-making,” Union of Concerned Scientists’ food and environment program director Ricardo Salvador said.
To put up a hard fight
Many of the legislators opposed to the nomination hinted on potentially giving Clovis’s confirmation a hard push, pointing at the qualification issue as their foremost point of focus.
For now, the confirmation hearing is yet to be scheduled.Click to See the Latest Mortgage Rates»