On the surface, Sam Clovis doesn’t seem like an obvious choice to serve as the Department of Agriculture’s chief scientist. For starters, he’s not a scientist. He’s not a farmer, either. Other than vocal support from the agriculture industry, he has no clear qualifications for the job. But Clovis is a loyal Trump supporter, perhaps the quality the president prizes above all. And thanks to CNN, we now know he has another quality Trump surely appreciates — a deep animosity for President Obama and a history of peddling the same conspiracy theories that turned Trump into a conservative darling.
Clovis’s lack of qualifications is not news. Democrats and climate groups have been grousing about that, along with his climate-change skepticism, since Trump sent his nomination to the Capitol. But Clovis’s birtherism was revealed only Thursday, when CNN dug deep into his days as an Iowa talk-radio host and blogger.
In one blog post, Clovis wrote, “For over a decade, Obama allowed his publisher to carry a biography that had him born in Kenya. Only after beginning his pursuit of public office did he ‘correct’ the entry.” He goes on to call Obama a “lying egoist.”
Along with his questioning President Obama’s place of birth, CNN found that the former fighter pilot and defense contractor had called former attorney general Eric Holder a “racist bigot” and a “racist black.” He also called former Labor secretary Tom Perez a “racist Latino.” But Obama was the target of most of his barbs.
Clovis is not the first Trump nominee who has beat the birther drum. Attorney John Bush was also criticized for pushing the conspiracy in blog posts, but that didn’t prevent the Senate from confirming him to a lifetime appointment to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Clovis also trashed Obama on his radio program “Serious Civics With Sam Clovis.” In one 2012 episode, he said Obama appeared to be happy about the attack in Benghazi. “This is something that tells you that he is dismissive of the entire affair and, in fact, I would even hate to stretch this out, but it’s almost as if it was intentional. As if he is happy that these things have occurred,” Clovis said.
In another blog post, Clovis called Obama “a dangerous person” and wrote that he “wants to be a dictator and he wants to enslave all who are not part of his regime.” Clovis also wrote that if Obama won reelection in 2012 it “could very well mean the total deconstruction of our Constitutional republic.” Fortunately, it did not. Unfortunately, that might still be on the way.