Clovis, who has been serving as senior White House adviser to the USDA since Trump took office, has a background as an economics professor and a former talk radio host, but he has no formal background in the hard sciences.
The nominee for undersecretary of agriculture for research, education, and economics, was an avid supporter of Trump in 2016, serving as his chief policy adviser and national chair.
Clovis ardently defended Trump throughout the campaign.
Clovis holds a bachelor degree in political science and a doctorate in public administration.
Supporters of the nomination point to Clovis' roots hailing from Iowa and the fact that he led Trump's “beachhead” team for the USDA, a crew that hired staff and begin crafting policy while USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue awaited Senate confirmation.
However, there's a stipulation in the Farm Bill that was first added in 2008 that mandates that all nominees to the chief scientist role at the USDA be a scientist — something Clovis is not.
“The Under Secretary shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, from among distinguished scientists with specialized training or significant experience in agricultural research, education, and economics,” the statute reads.