President Trump’s latest science pick is a radio talk show host
Donald Trump has a lot of climate-change deniers in positions of authority, but what’s one more, eh? Enter Sam Clovis, President Trump’s pick for the department of agriculture’s undersecretary of research, education and economics. In other words, he’s the chief scientist for agriculture.
You would have thought that the role would be suited for someone with a scientific background, but in Trump’s egalitarian paradise, a dangerous lack of qualifications is no longer considered a bar to serving in high office. Previous picks for this job have been top scientists from the worlds of biochemistry, medicine and food nutrition – this time, Trump is going a different way, hiring a supportive radio talk show host instead.
Clovis’ academic background is in public administration, with some works on national security and terrorism. Despite this – assuming he is approved by the Senate – his new role will include overseeing 1,000 scientists and 100 research facilities in the agricultural research service.
That means that some of the job will involve considering how agriculture will adapt to the world’s rapidly changing climate. So it’s good to know that Clovis’ views on the subject are suitably nuanced. “I have looked at the science, and I have enough of a science background to know when I’m being boofed,” he said in a 2014 interview with Iowa Public Radio. In my house, boofing means shoving your head into a cat’s flank and blowing, but I assume Clovis has a somewhat different definition in mind.
“A lot of the science is junk science,” he went on. “It’s not proven; I don’t think there’s any substantive information available to me that doesn’t raise as many questions as it does answers.”
He went on to cite a conspiracy theory that all these scientists getting haughty about climate change was “really about income redistribution from rich nations that are industrialised to nations that are not”.
Chalk this up as another prominent voice to help ensure Trump won’t backtrack on his Paris climate accord withdrawal.
Image: US Department of Agriculture