Trump pick Sam Clovis blasted schools for 'indoctrinating' students with ideas like 'environmentalism' and 'racism'

By Andrew Kaczynski, CNN

(CNN) -- Donald Trump's nominee to be the chief scientist for the Department of Agriculture, Sam Clovis, wrote in a 2011 newsletter that progressives, through the public school system, have been "indoctrinating children" with concepts he said are contrary to America's founding, including environmentalism and racism.

Clovis, currently a senior White House adviser to the USDA, made the comments when he was a conservative talk radio host in a 2011 newsletter obtained by CNN's Kfile.

"Through the public education system, in which we still find over 70% of America's children, the progressives have advanced several 'isms' that tend to warp and twist the logic and intellectual development of children essentially held captive eight hours a day in a government-mandated system that has not substantively improved in over 40 years," Clovis wrote in the newsletter.

Clovis singled out environmentalism as the "most pervasive 'ism,"" and said that the goal of the entire environmental movement was the "destruction of capitalism and the redistribution of wealth, not just in America but around the world."

Clovis labeled racism as "the most pernicious 'ism,'" and said that then-President Barack Obama "uses his self-identified race as a bludgeon to assault anyone who might disagree with him."

"The fact that he is a socialist, does not believe in Natural Law or Natural Rights, is incensed at the mere existence of the Constitution and cannot accept the exceptionality of this nation, probably has nothing to do with why so many people disagree with him and his value system," Clovis wrote.

In the newsletter, Clovis also criticized public schools for teaching pacifism, writing that "one does not ever want to see young Americans in harm's way, one must support and defend this nation particularly if the values and interests of this nation are at risk." And Clovis wrote that feminism is "another approach to deconstructing the identity of the individual and destroying the fabric of the nuclear family."

Clovis's nomination has faced renewed scrutiny this week after a report by the Washington Post identified him as the Trump campaign supervisor who encouraged George Papadopoulos, the Trump campaign aide who pleaded guilty in October to lying to the FBI about his contact with Russia, to meet with Russian officials. Clovis' attorney said in a statement that Clovis had always opposed trips to Russia by Trump or staff and that he was simply being polite in his interactions with Papadopoulos.

Clovis already faced opposition from Democrats and environmentalists for controversial comments he has made in the past. In blog posts and transcripts of his radio show previously reported on by CNN's KFile, Clovis stoked the birther conspiracy against Obama, called then-Attorney General Eric Holder a "racist black" and blasted "race traitors" and "races traders" in the progressive movement.

Clovis is tentatively scheduled to appear before the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry for his confirmation hearing on November 9.

Representatives for the White House, the USDA, and Clovis did not respond to a request for comment.

Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, the top Democrat on the agriculture committee, said Clovis' comments in the newsletter show his "true colors."

"As I've said from the beginning, putting a divisive political activist with clear biases in charge of science and research at USDA puts our farmers and the American public at risk," Stabenow said.

A spokesperson for the chair of the committee, Republican Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, did not return a request for comment.

In another newsletter obtained by CNN's KFile, Clovis criticized textbooks that taught only the theory of evolution and ones that celebrated environmentalism and same-sex couples.

"Many of these books contain revised American history or have been written to advance particular agenda that are quite contrary to the mainstream values of the citizenry. In an exemplar that came into my possession, a grammar school reading book celebrates same-sex relationships and environmentalism," Clovis wrote. "Add to this books that advance ideas about Darwinian evolution and are void of acknowledgement of all possible scientific theories explaining the development of the human species, and we have a perfect storm where indoctrination hip-checks education right out of the way."

Clovis has questioned evolution before. In a 2011 blog post on the Republican presidential primary in Iowa, the then-radio host expressed his belief many scientists had trouble with the theory.

"[Texas Gov. Rick] Perry and [Minnesota Rep. Michele] Bachman (sic) are evangelical Christians," Clovis wrote. "They are considered radical extremists because they believe in Christ as their Savior and in the Bible. They may even have trouble with evolution, but so do many scientists. Still, anyone who believes in God like they do is just not cool."


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