WASHINGTON, D.C. — Iowan Sam Clovis is removing his name from consideration for a top job with the USDA as his name swirls in the investigation in alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
In a letter to the president on Monday Clovis wrote “The political climate inside Washington has made it impossible for me to receive balanced and fair consideration for this position. The relentless assaults on you and your team seem to be a blood sport that only increases in intensity each day.”
Clovis was seeking appointment as the Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics within the USDA. Clovis was one of the earliest Iowa supporters of the Trump campaign in 2015. He joined as a national co-chair before the Iowa Caucuses and worked with the campaign through election day.
This week Clovis’ name surfaced in the investigation in alleged interference by the Russian government in the election. On Monday former Trump aide George Papadopoulos plead guilty to lying to the FBI. Papadopoulos reportedly lied to federal agents about his contacts with Russian agents during the election. At the time Papadopoulos worked under Clovis on the campaign. E-mails released this week show that Clovis was aware of Papadopoulos’ contacts with Russians and may have encouraged the meetings. Clovis is reportedly cooperating with the investigation.
Here is Clovis’ full letter to the president.
“Dear President Trump,
The purpose of this letter is to respectfully request that you withdraw my name immediately from
consideration for the position of Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics at the United
States Department of Agriculture. Please know that I am eternally grateful and humbled by your
The political climate inside Washington has made it impossible for me to receive balanced and fair
consideration for this position. The relentless assaults on you and your team seem to be a blood sport
that only increases in intensity each day. As I am focused on your success and the success of this
Administration, I do not want to be a distraction or negative influence, particularly with so much
important work left to do for the American people.
I have served this nation for 50 years with dignity, honor and integrity and will continue to do so. I am
grateful to Secretary Perdue and you for having the confidence in me to nominate me. I also wish to thank
Senator Pat Roberts for being in my corner along with the other Republican members of the Senate
Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. It saddens me that circumstances will not allow me to
fulfill your, or their, expectations in that role.
I worked hard during the campaign and take some pride in the accomplishment of having you elevated to
the Presidency. I am particularly proud that you are my President and know that the American people
have someone in the White House who truly cares for this country and its citizens. I will remain a devoted
and loyal supporter and will continue to serve at the pleasure of you and the Secretary of Agriculture.
Again, thanks for the consideration. God Bless you and the United States of America.”