Sam Clovis was already in a difficult spot, with some of his past writings raising questions among Senate leaders about his qualifications to be the top USDA scientist. The scrutiny of the Trump administration over alleged ties to Russia was the final nail in Clovis’ nomination. On Thursday, he officially withdrew from the nomination process.
Clovis, who’s from Iowa, was working as the USDA’s senior advisor to the White House when he was chosen by Trump to be the USDA’s undersecretary for research, education, and economics. With former Trump advisor George Papadopoulos’ recent guilty plea about lying to FBI agents, things were about to get particularly dicey for Clovis. According to Bloomberg, “His lawyer confirmed that Clovis was the unnamed ‘campaign supervisor’ cited in the documents who received emails from Papadopoulos about attempts to arrange meetings between the campaign and Russian representatives.”
According to PBS, Clovis’ withdrawal letter to President Trump said that he does “not want to be a distraction or a negative influence.”
It’s unclear at this moment who Trump will look toward as a replacement nominee.