clovis

Screenshot/CNN

Welcome to the Trump administration, where not being a scientist is in no way an impediment to being appointed as a federal agency's chief scientist.

Sam Clovis is currently awaiting confirmation for the position of chief scientist at the Department of Agriculture, a job he apparently trained for during a long career as an Air Force colonel, talk-radio host, and failed political candidate in Iowa.

While he waits, CNN dug up some of his old blog posts and radio broadcasts, and oh boy:

“Follow the logic, if you engage in a particular behavior, what also becomes protected? If we protect LGBT behavior, what other behaviors are we going to protect? Are we going to protect pedophilia? Are we going to protect polyamorous marriage relationships? Are we going to protect people who have fetishes? What's the logical extension of this? It can't be that we're going to protect LGBT and then we'll pull up the ladder. That's not going to happen, it defies logic. We're not thinking the consequences of these decisions through.”

When a questioner said some might call what Clovis' words extreme — comparing the approval of same-sex protections to allowing pedophilia. Clovis said it was 'logical.'"

On the one hand, these are standard-issue, right-wing talking points in opposition to gay marriage, much like when Rick Santorum in 2003 suggested that the approval of gay unions would lead to “man and dog” marriages.

On the other hand, while Clovis might not believe the issue of a biological basis for sexual attraction is settled, people with scientific and medical training are fairly sure about it:

Clovis has repeatedly argued that the science on homosexuality is unsettled and that “LGBT behavior” is a choice. The American Psychological Association has said that while there is no scientific consensus on the causes of sexual orientation, “most people experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientation.”

Clovis does have a bachelor's degree in political science, so maybe that credential confused the Trump administration when it was deciding how to reward him for serving as the campaign's national co-chair.

It does not give one much comfort about the direction the USDA might take for the next few years. But then, that is true of any science- or data-based endeavor under the current administration.

Please note: This is a commentary piece. The views and opinions expressed within it are those of the author only and do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of IJR.

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