US Ambassador to Netherlands Dodges 'No-go Zones' Questions

Kristopher Drake
January 12, 2018

Dutch journalists peppered Hoekstra, who became Trump's ambassador after serving 18 years as a Republican congressman from MI, with questions on unsubstantiated claims he made in 2015 about the chaos the "Islamic movement" had brought to the Netherlands.

Pete Hoekstra started his first day as USA ambassador to the Netherlands by remaining silent when asked about false claims he made in 2015 about Muslim violence in that European country.

Mr Hoekstra is a former Republican congressman from MI who was born in the Netherlands.

During a recent press conference, a Dutch reporter asked, "Are politicians being burned in the Netherlands...?" "If you are truly an honest and wise man, would you please take back the remark about burned politicians - or name a politician that was burned in the Netherlands?" another journalist questioned. But Hoekstra, squirming through his first news conference in The Hague, was merely the more visible of the Dutch media's two targets.

Hoekstra said on Wednesday he did not want to revisit the issue - but that did not stop Dutch reporters from pressing unsuccessfully for a clarification.

"The Ambassador made mistakes in 2015, made comments that should not have been made", Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs Steve Goldstein told reporters.

The remarks came at a conference hosted by the David Horowitz Freedom Center, where Hoekstra argued the "Islamic movement" had plunged Europe into chaos, the Times reported.

"I didn't call that fake news", Hoekstra maintained. "And yes, there are no-go zones in the Netherlands", said Hoekstra while discussing the country's minority Muslim population.

In a Twitter message on December 23, Hoekstra said: "I made certain remarks in 2015 and regret the exchange during the Nieuwsuur interview. He's been received well by the Dutch government, and we hope that he can be received well by the people of the Netherlands". "Please accept my apology", he wrote.

Hoekstra told reporters he regretted the exchange with Dutch television denying the remarks but declined to comment further.

Hoekstra served in the U.S. Congress from 1993 to 2011.

"Why don't you answer the question?" one journalist called out. He said Hoekstra also was expected to visit various Dutch communities over the weekend, including Muslim communities. At one point, one reporter referenced a quote from John Adams, the first USA ambassador to the Netherlands, who wished that only "honest and wise men ever rule under this roof".

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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