Statement of CSPI President Michael F. Jacobson
In fact, the statute authorizing the position specifically requires that the nominee come “from among distinguished scientists with specialized training in agricultural research, education, and economics.” That's because the Under Secretary is USDA’s chief scientist.
Sam Clovis has been a business school professor, a conservative talk radio host, an Air Force official, and, of course, a Trump campaign official. There are likely senior jobs in the Administration that he would have been qualified to hold, but the job of USDA chief scientist is not one of them. He should not have been nominated, and the law requires that he not be confirmed.