Clovis at GOP Victory Party

Siouxlander Sam Clovis on Thursday withdrew his nomination to a key post in the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Jim Lee, Sioux City Journal file

WASHINGTON | Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is leading a chorus of Democrats calling on President Donald Trump to withdraw the nomination of Siouxlander Sam Clovis to a key post in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, saying failure to do so would send a “message to the world that this administration continues to tolerate hate.”

Schumer, a Democrat from New York, said Democrats will actively work to block the nomination of Clovis as Under Secretary of Agriculture for Research, Education, and Economics. Trump made that nomination in July and it must be approved by Senate confirmation.

Clovis has come under fire from some past columns and writings. For example, in a now-defunct blog for his former talk radio show on KSCJ, Clovis labeled progressives "liars, race traders and race traitors," and referred to former President Barack Obama as a "socialist" who "hates the greatness of this nation."

More recently, Democrats and progressive groups attacked Clovis for saying a few years ago, "as far as we know, LGBT behavior is a choice."

In a campaign stop in Iowa a few years ago, Clovis, a former Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, addressed the topic of groups of people who have constitutional protections, and he discussed lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Said Clovis, "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? I mean, what's the logical extension of this?"

In a Wednesday joint press release with U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii,  Schumer said, “In this time of great division, our nation cries out for healing, unity and clarity on the path forward from our elected leaders. Unfortunately, for Donald Trump to nominate and to advocate for Senate confirmation of someone with views as backwards as Mr. Clovis’s, is not only a signal to the darkest and most evil forces in this country to carry on, but a clear as day message to the world that this administration continues to tolerate hate."

The two senators added that if Trump does not withdraw Clovis, "we will vehemently oppose his nomination and urge our colleagues from both parties to come together and summarily reject him as well.”

Clovis, a former Morningside College economics professor, is also a skeptic about the science behind climate change. Schumer and Schatz said that is another reason Clovis, a rural Hinton, Iowa, resident, is not fit for the USDA post.

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County and education reporter

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