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Trump Nominee for USDA Chief Scientist Tied to Russia Scandal

October 31, 2017
Center for Food Safety

Sam Clovis reportedly encouraged Papadopoulos to set up meetings with Russians

WASHINGTON (October 31, 2017)— In yet another attack on science, President Trump has nominated Sam Clovis — a radio talk show host with no scientific or agricultural background and a history of making racist, sexist, and homophobic remarks — to be the chief scientist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The position Clovis has been nominated for oversees a budget of nearly $3 billion and is responsible for agriculture and natural resource issues. The Farm Bill requires that the person in this position be a scientist, stating that the nominee "shall be appointed by the President . . . from among distinguished scientists with specialized training or significant experience in agricultural research, education, and economics.” He's not an agricultural scientist, nor is he an agricultural economist. In short, he is simply not qualified for this position. 

Now, news has broken that Clovis is linked to the Russia investigation. According to news reports, Clovis encouraged Papadopoulos—the former Trump aide who has pled guilty for lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia—to set up an “off the record” meeting with Russian officials. Clovis supervised Papadopoulos, and reportedly gave final sign-off on bringing Carter Page onto the Trump campaign.

Below is a statement by Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director at Center for Food Safety:

“Sam Clovis is a terrible choice for chief scientist at USDA. He is a climate denier, has no scientific or agricultural background, and is simply unqualified for the position he’s been nominated for. As if that weren’t bad enough, he now appears to be embroiled in the investigation into collusion with the Russians. The Senate must do its job and reject his nomination.”

Center for Food Safety is one of many organizations opposing Clovis’ nomination. A hearing on Clovis’ nomination for USDA is tentatively scheduled for November 9th in the Senate Agriculture Committee. Many Democratic Senators, organizations, and scientists have been outspoken in their opposition to Clovis.



About CFS: Center for Food Safety’s mission is to empower people, support farmers, and protect the earth from the harmful impacts of industrial agriculture. Through groundbreaking legal, scientific, and grassroots action, we protect and promote your right to safe food and the environment. Please join our more than 900,000 advocates across the country at Twitter: @CFSTrueFood, @CFS_Press

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