A Maine Democratic lawmaker gave President Biden a verbal pinch for shipping in 200 lobsters to serve at Thursday’s White House state dinner — amid a fierce debate over how the state’s fishing industry should be regulated.
After it emerged that butter-poached Maine lobster would be on the menu for Biden’s White House meal with French President Emmanuel Macron, Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine) took aim at the ritzy celebration.
“If the Biden White House can prioritize purchasing 200 Maine lobsters for a fancy dinner, @POTUS should also take the time to meet with the Maine lobstermen his administration is currently regulating out of business,” Golden tweeted late Wednesday.
The New England lawmaker, known as the most conservative Dem in the House, has repeatedly called on the 80-year-old president to uphold his vow to help protect Maine’s lobster industry, which has come under fire from environmental conservationists.
“In 2020, while running for president, Biden pledged ‘I will work to protect the livelihood and safety of the fishing community’ in reference to lobstermen. He has yet to take a single action to make good on that pledge,” Golden said in an October statement.
“You cannot espouse being a president for working people while simultaneously overseeing the destruction of an entire blue-collar fishery and its community’s heritage and way of life.”
Maine’s lobstermen are currently embroiled in a heated legal battle with environmental interests, who argue that their fishing practices are endangering whales in the Gulf of Maine who are vulnerable to entanglement in nets and other gear.
A federal judge recently ruled that new and stricter lobstering restrictions were needed.
But lobstermen have warned that the industry faces a grave threat from rules that prevent them from fishing.
Whole Foods announced last month that it would stop selling Maine lobster due to the environmental concerns.
Golden and a string of other Maine politicians, including Democratic Maine Gov. Janet Mills, quickly denounced the move.
“We are disappointed by Whole Foods’ decision and deeply frustrated that the Marine Stewardship Council’s suspension of the lobster industry’s certificate of sustainability continues to harm the livelihoods of hardworking men and women up and down Maine’s coast,” they said in a joint statement.
In addition to the Maine lobster, the Bidens’ red, white and blue-themed dinner with Macron and his wife Brigitte will feature American Osetra caviar, beef and potatoes, and cheeses from Oregon, California and Wisconsin.
Dessert will be an orange chiffon cake, roasted pears and creme fraiche ice cream.
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