Statement of CSPI President Peter G. Lurie

All Americans who believe that agricultural policies should be set by those with actual scientific backgrounds should be cheering the withdrawal today of Sam Clovis’s nomination to be Under Secretary of Agriculture for Research, Education, and Economics.  His nomination neatly illustrated how science has been subordinated to politics in the Trump administration. 

Unlike most positions in the government, the Under Secretary is required by law to be a “distinguished scientist” with relevant experience in agricultural research, education, and economics.  Clovis is not a scientist and has no such experience.  But he did have a history of troubling statements casting doubt on the scientific evidence on climate change.  And that was before he got swept up in the Russia investigation.

The law means what it says.  It is our hope that the Trump administration will nominate a qualified scientist—not a campaign political operative—to serve in this important role.  Members of the Senate Agriculture Committee should insist on that.