Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) on Wednesday called on President Donald Trump to withdraw his nomination of Sam Clovis to oversee the Department of Agriculture’s research section.
“For Donald Trump to nominate and to advocate for Senate confirmation of someone with views as backwards as Mr. Clovis’s, is not only a signal to the darkest and most evil forces in this country to carry on, but a clear as day message to the world that this administration continues to tolerate hate,” the senators said in a statement.
They cited “the extremist views Mr. Clovis has expressed and the racist conspiracy theories he has stoked.”
“President Trump should withdraw the Clovis nomination immediately,” they said. “Not only because he is a proud ‘skeptic’ of climate change and wildly unqualified for the position of USDA Chief Scientist – but also as a gesture to the American people that this administration is serious about rooting out the most hateful voices in our society.”
Schumer and Schatz cited comments Clovis made calling former President Barack Obama a “lying egotist” who was “given a pass because he is black,” and calling DNC chairman Tom Perez a “racist Latino” and former Attorney General Eric Holder a “racist black.”
Clovis appears to have no advanced credentials in science and has openly questioned the scientific proof for climate change, in direct contradiction of the scientific consensus.
“I have enough of a science background to know when I’m being boofed,” Clovis claimed in 2014. “And a lot of the science is junk science. It’s not proven.”
Between 2012 and 2014, Clovis also repeatedly argued that “LGBT behavior is a choice” and compared marriage equality to the hypothetical legalization of pedophilia, in comments surfaced by CNN’s KFILE.
“If we protect LGBT behavior, what other behaviors are we going to protect? Are we going to protect pedophilia?” Clovis said at a campaign stop during his unsuccessful 2014 run for Senate. “Are we going to protect polyamorous marriage relationships? Are we going to protect people who have fetishes? What’s the logical extension of this?”