Donald Trump’s ‘being gay is a choice’ nominee quits after Russia investigation revelations
A homophobic Donald Trump nominee who said same-sex marriage could result in paedophilia being legalised, has withdrawn his nomination.
Sam Clovis, chosen to be Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics in the Department of Agriculture, withdrew days after being linked to Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.
Clovis, the former national co-chair of the Trump-Pence campaign and a White House adviser, has not been named by the FBI.
But his attorney has confirmed he was the supervisor for George Papadopoulos, who is now cooperating with the investigation.
Papadopoulos, an advisor in Trump’s campaign, has been working with the FBI since admitting he lied about his interactions with foreign officials close to the Russian government.
Clovis told Papadopoulos: “Great work” when he emailed Clovis about setting up a meeting between the campaign and Russian leadership.
“We respect Mr Clovis’ decision to withdraw his nomination,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.
Clovis has previously said that homosexuality is a choice, “as far as we know”.
Human Rights Campaign Government Affairs Director David Stacy said: “Sam Clovis has opposed equality for LGBTQ people at practically every turn and even pushed the unscientific nonsense that being LGBTQ is a choice.
“It’s disconcerting that the Trump-Pence administration continues to nominate candidates who are as extreme as they are unqualified.
“Sam Clovis certainly fit that description, and while his nomination has today been withdrawn, it’s absolutely essential that the Senate reject the scores of other dangerous nominees this administration continues to push forward.”
Clovis, a former radio host, said that businesses should be free to not hire gay people in recordings discovered by CNN’s KFILE.
He has also said he thinks that equal marriage could lead to the legalisation of paedophilia.
He claimed: “Someone who engages in LGBT behaviour…as far as we know, LGBT behaviour is a choice they make, so we’re being asked to provide Constitutional protections for behaviour, a choice in behaviour as opposed to a primary characteristic.
“There’s no equivalency there between the civil rights issue associated between those protected classes and the civil rights of someone who engages in a particular behaviour.
“Follow the logic, if you engage in a particular behaviour, what also becomes protected? If we protect LGBT behaviour, what other behaviours are we going to protect?
“Are we going to protect paedophilia?
“Are we going to protect polyamorous marriage relationships? Are we going to protect people who have fetishes? What’s the logical extension of this?”
He also wrote in blog posts that “businesses and their owners should be able to make decisions about who is employed if hiring people who do not behave in accordance with some deeply held religious belief system is at issue.”
Clovis is far from the first anti-LGBT nominee for a position in the White House.
Trump’s Army Secretary nominee previously quit after senior Democrats and Republicans both voiced concern about his long record of homophobia.
Donald Trump had been attempting to replace Obama’s openly gay nominee Eric Fanning with an anti-gay Tennessee Republican lawmaker, Mark Green.
A number of disturbing allegations later came to light about Mr Green.
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He is on-the-record claiming that being transgender is a “disease”, while in an unearthed radio clip he rants about trans people before vowing to “crush” evil.
Mr Green also described civil rights protections for LGBT people as an example of “tyrannical government”, and encouraged Tennessee to defy the US Supreme Court and deny gay couples the right to marry.
Meanwhile, many of the people in the most senior roles in the Trump cabinet also have anti-LGBT views.