This is . . . sad. Just sad.
The POTUS arrived in Israel yesterday for his first state visit to that nation. He and the Israeli President, Shimon Peres, planted a US magnolia tree as part of the arrival ceremony.
Accounts vary on what happened later. According to Israeli accounts, the tree was dug up later that day. A White House spokesman denied this, saying that the tree’s roots were “wrapped in plastic mesh”. My guess is that both are correct – e.g., the tree was unearthed, then plastic-wrapped and put back in place.
Why? Well, it seems any plants brought from abroad require a check by the Israeli Agricultural Ministry before they can be planted in Israel. And it also appears that the POTUS’s staff was made aware of that fact beforehand by officials in the Israeli government, but elected not to send the tree ahead of time to allow inspection.
I’m not joking. See the entry for 19:54 yesterday in the article.
I mean, really. For crying out loud: the state where the POTUS grew up (Hawaii) has some pretty strict quarantine requirements. The US has pretty stiff restrictions on foreign plants and agricultural products entering the US, too. So figuring out that import restrictions on plants might exist in other countries shouldn’t exactly be rocket science.
(sigh) First they don’t plan ahead regarding the POTUS’s food “taster” at a recent Capitol Hill luncheon. Here, they didn’t bother perform the due diligence necessary to prevent a major international faux pas (or simply didn’t care). Suppose the Israelis had told the POTUS at the ceremony, “Um, no . . . you can’t plant that; it goes to quarantine first”?
What’s next? Are they going to forget to tell British authorities ahead of time that they’re coming and just show up at Buckingham Palace’s front door one evening expecting to see the Queen?
It also looks like someone forgot what kind of fuel the POTUS’s limo uses during his latest trip, too.
Our nation deserves better than this. It’s one thing to look foolish at home. This time, we’re looking foolish in front of the whole world.