Washington state conservatives are having a field day with what might be a political gaffe worse than anything Joe Biden could ever do, and that takes some doing.
On a trip to the wildfire-damaged communities of Malden and Bridgeport, and a retirement home in Omak—all three communities in Eastern Washington—Gov. Jay Inslee, trying for a third term, brought along some apples he and his wife picked from their tree in Olympia. But that was a big “oops!”
According to published reports that have reached the New York Times, the apples were infested with apple maggot larvae, which is why many areas in eastern Washington, where apples are a major cash crop, do not allow people to bring apples from outside the areas. Inslee is now very apologetic, but it isn’t clear anybody in apple country is buying what he’s selling.
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The Seattle P-I.com said the gesture “has turned into a fiasco to track down missing maggot-infested apples that could infect others.”
Inslee could not have done anything worse in the eyes of agriculturists whose livelihoods could be seriously damaged if not destroyed, like so many homes were by the fires. It’s even more embarrassing because eastern Washington is “Loren Culp country,” referring to Inslee’s populist challenger, the police chief of Republic, the largest community in Ferry County, as well as its county seat. CFL recently drove deep into eastern Washington and found “Culp for Governor” signs all over the landscape, but not a single “Re-Elect Inslee” sign could be found.
Inslee lives in western Washington’s Thurston County, which is under an apple maggot quarantine, according to KING5 News, the NBC affiliate in Seattle. That city is an Inslee/Democrat stronghold, while eastern Washington is strongly Republican. The cultural differences between East and West are a universe apart, and Inslee’s apple faux pas only widened the gap.
The news agency reported that “Chelan-Douglas Horticultural Pest and Disease Board Director Will Carpenter said on Wednesday afternoon that most of the Bridgeport and Omak apples had been recovered.”
Inslee issued a statement explaining, “Last week Trudi and I wanted to express comfort for the communities suffering from devastating fires. When I visited some of these areas, I took some apples we picked from our tree in Olympia. We regret this mistake. This a good reminder of the importance of awareness around apple quarantine. We appreciate the Washington State Department of Agriculture’s efforts to help recover these apples and we are assisting to help make that happen.”
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