Sam Clovis, who was nominated by President Donald Trump to become the chief scientist of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has withdrawn himself from consideration for the position.
According to CNN, Clovis wrote a letter to Trump expressing his desire to no longer be considered for the position, which stated, “The political climate inside Washington has made it impossible for me to receive balanced and fair consideration for this position. … As I am focused on your success and the success of this administration, I do not want to be a distraction or negative influence, particularly with so much important work left to do for the American people.”
Clovis, in the letter, said he would continue in his role as a White House adviser on USDA.
Clovis had emerged as a controversial nominee because he lacks experience and credentials as a scientist. Opposition to his confirmation with the USDA became more widespread when his name was mentioned as someone connected to George Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign advisor who admitted to making a false statement to the FBI regarding his interactions with Russian officials.
Stabenow applauds Clovis' decision to withdraw
Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan, ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said Clovis’ decision to withdraw his nomination was good news.
“Sam Clovis’ decision to withdraw his nomination as chief scientist is a victory for science and our farmers who rely on agricultural research,” Stabenow stated. “From day one, it was clear to me that Sam Clovis was the wrong choice for our farmers and ranchers. His lack of qualifications and long history of politically divisive statements were disqualifying, and the recent news surrounding his time as co-chair of the Trump campaign has raised even more questions.”
Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, the agriculture committee chairman, has not issued a statement regarding Clovis’ decision. Clovis is a native of Salina, Kansas.