Sam Clovis, who has been nominated by Donald Trump to be the department of agriculture’s top scientist, previously ran a blog where he called progressives “race traders and race ‘traitors’” and likened former president Barack Obama to a “communist” and a “dictator”.
Clovis, previously a college professor and radio talk show host in Iowa, wrote the blog for his show Impact with Clovis. The website has been taken down but is archived.
In a September 2011 post, Clovis said that Obama was “brought up by socialists to be a socialist. His associations were socialists or worse, criminal dissidents who were bent on overthrowing the government of the United States.”
Warming to the theme, Clovis claimed in subsequent posts that Obama had a “communist father, socialist mother” and “has designs on being a dictator”. Obama’s followers, Clovis claimed are “progressive, Maoist, anti-colonist”.
Clovis, who served in the Air Force for 25 years, turned his attention to race in August 2011, labeling progressives as “liars, race traders and race traitors”. He also accused progressives of keeping “minorities in this country enslaved to government” with a supposed desire to “essentially eliminate people of color from the American landscape”.
In June 2011, Clovis said civil rights leader WEB Du Bois was “the first race trader” for convincing black people to vote for Woodrow Wilson.
According to CNN, a USDA spokesperson defended Clovis. “Dr Clovis is a proud conservative and a proud American,” the spokesperson said. “All of his reporting either on the air or in writing over the course of his career has been based on solid research and data. He is after all an academic.”
Clovis is a departure from previous USDA’s chief scientists, without a strong science background. He also departs from mainstream scientists with his views on climate change, which he said he was “skeptical” about in 2014, claiming that “a lot of the science is junk science”.
Despite this colorful background, or perhaps because of it, the Trump administration has nominated Clovis and is awaiting his confirmation. In July, agriculture secretary Sonny Perdue said Clovis was a “trusted advisor and a steady hand”.
“He looks at every problem with a critical eye, relying on sound science and data, and will be the facilitator and integrator we need,” Perdue added. “Dr Clovis has served this nation proudly since he was a very young man, and I am happy he is continuing to serve.”
“Dr Clovis was one of the first people through the door at USDA in January and has become a trusted advisor and steady hand as we continue to work for the people of agriculture,” agriculture secretary Sonny Perdue said in a statement Wednesday evening. “He looks at every problem with a critical eye, relying on sound science and data, and will be the facilitator and integrator we need. Dr Clovis has served this nation proudly since he was a very young man, and I am happy he is continuing to serve.”
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010