Lawmakers erupt in cheers as Japanese prime minister announces that 250 new cherry trees are gifted to DC after the capital spends $113MILLION to chop down the beloved cherry blossoms – including iconic ‘Stumpy’ – to repair the crumbling Tidal Basin

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Written By Maya Cantina

Members of Congress jumped to their feet Thursday when Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida spoke about Japan’s gift of 250 new cherry trees to replace those being cut down to shore up the crumbling Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. 

Kishida addressed Congress as part of his official state visit to Washington this week.

The speech came on the heels of a glitzy White House state dinner Wednesday night, attended by A-lists guests including Robert DeNiro, Jeff Bezos and girlfriend Lauren Sanchez, and former President Bill Clinton and ex-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. 

‘I know that the National Park Service is undertaking a rehabilitation project in the Tidal Basin. As a gesture of friendship, Japan will provide 250 cherry trees that will be planted there in anticipation of the 250th anniversary of your independence,’ Kishida said prompting lawmakers to jump to their feet. 

During this year’s cherry blossom peak bloom, droves of locals and tourists alike have headed to the Tidal Basin to pay tribute to one doomed tree in particular, affably referred to as ‘Stumpy.’ 

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida addressed a joint meeting of Congress Thursday afternoon after attending a glitzy White House state dinner Wednesday night. He received a standing ovation when he brought up Japan’s cherry tree donation 

During this year's cherry blossom peak bloom, droves of locals and tourists alike have headed to the Tidal Basin to pay tribute to one doomed tree in particular, affably referred to as 'Stumpy' (pictured)

During this year’s cherry blossom peak bloom, droves of locals and tourists alike have headed to the Tidal Basin to pay tribute to one doomed tree in particular, affably referred to as ‘Stumpy’ (pictured) 

Stumpy’s stump is practically hollowed out and the tree only has one remaining branch – yet year after year the tree has produced a mass of cherry blossoms every spring – despite being flooded by the Tidal Basin waters twice daily. 

Stumpy is among the 150 or so cherry trees to be cut down in May so construction can begin to bolster the Tidal Basin’s failing seawall. 

The entire project will cost $113 million and take three years, the National Park Service announced last month. 

When it’s finished, 455 trees, including 274 cherry trees, will be replanted in the area, NPS said. 

The fresh Japanese donation was first announced Wednesday as President Joe Biden welcomed Kishida to the White House with a large-scale ceremony on the South Lawn. 

The original trees were donated by the Japanese to the Americans in 1912.  

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is seen receiving a standing ovation from members of Congress Thursday as he announced Japan's donation of 250 fresh cherry trees to replace those being cut down around the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is seen receiving a standing ovation from members of Congress Thursday as he announced Japan’s donation of 250 fresh cherry trees to replace those being cut down around the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. 

Flowers have been left to pay tribute to 'Stumpy' who will be cut down in May as part of the National Park Service's seawall restoration project around the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C.

Flowers have been left to pay tribute to ‘Stumpy’ who will be cut down in May as part of the National Park Service’s seawall restoration project around the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. 

‘Let me end with this. It’s spring in Washington. The sun is shining. And every spring, cherry blossoms bloom across the city thanks to a gift from Japan of 3,000 cherry trees over a century ago,’ the president said. ‘People travel all over our country and the world to see these magnificent blossoms.’

Biden remarked how the Kishidas had joined the president and first lady to visit the cherry blossom trees on the White House campus the night before. 

‘One that Jill and Mrs. Kishida planted together a year ago,’ the president said. ‘The other two are among the 250 new trees that Japan has given the United States to honor our 250th birthday two years from now.’ 

‘They’ll be planted at the Tidal Basin, not far from the Martin Luther King Memorial,’ Biden said. 

‘And like our friendship, these trees are timeless, inspiring and thriving,’ the president said. 

ᴀʀᴛɪᴄʟᴇ ꜱᴏᴜʀᴄᴇ

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