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Nicolas Collignon

Trump’s Expected Pick for Top USDA Scientist Is Not a Scientist

One of the main issues with politics today: career politicians who run for their own, their friends' or their party's interests are given jobs that should be awarded to specialists, competent and self-less people, who are supposed to take enlightened decisions for the greater good.

Instead, we have partisan nominations of people who, like in this example, have no scientific background whatsoever and are supposed to be their agency's "chief scientist".

No wonder people are fed up. No wonder politics cannot change the world. No wonder populist parties have higher scores than ever in numerous elections.

The USDA’s research section studies everything from climate change to nutrition. Under the 2008 Farm Bill, its leader is supposed to serve as the agency’s “chief scientist” and be chosen “from among distinguished scientists with specialized or significant experience in agricultural research, education, and economics.”

But Sam Clovis — who, according to sources with knowledge of the appointment and members of the agriculture trade press, is President Trump’s pick to oversee the section — appears to have no such credentials.

Clovis has never taken a graduate course in science and is openly skeptical of climate change. While he has a doctorate in public administration and was a tenured professor of business and public policy at Morningside College for 10 years, he has published almost no academic work.

Clovis is better known for hosting a conservative talk radio show in his native Iowa and, after mounting an unsuccessful run for Senate in 2014, becoming a fiery pro-Trump advocate on television.

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