Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

U.S. envoy erred in comments about Muslims in Netherlands: State Department

U.S. envoy erred in comments about Muslims in Netherlands: State Department

Reporters at a press conference repeatedly asked Pete Hoekstra, the new us ambassador to the Netherlands, to comment on his remarks at a hearing in 2015.

Former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, now U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands, refused Wednesday to retract or offer examples to back up his unsubstantiated claims in 2015 that the "Islamic movement" has made some parts of the Netherlands inaccessible.

"This is the Netherlands, you have to answer questions", another said, as Mr. Hoekstra remained silent.

On Wednesday at his new residence in The Hague, Dutch reporters repeatedly asked him to clarify if he believed local politicians had been set on fire. At one point, one reporter referenced a quote from John Adams, the first US ambassador to the Netherlands, who wished that only "honest and wise men ever rule under this roof".

Goldstein said Hoekstra would be interviewed by a Dutch media outlet on Friday and was expected to address the issue. "There are politicians that are being burned. and yes, there are no-go zones in the Netherlands".

"Please, this is not how it works", another reporter said.

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He added: "Chaos in the Netherlands - there are cars being burned". He also said it is "the greatest honor of [his] life to serve as the United States Ambassador to the Netherlands". Well, yesterday was "Hokum" Hoekstra's first day on the job, and his interview with the Dutch press didn't go so well.

"Thank you", Hoekstra said, before trying to call on someone else over the clamor of the reporters in the room.

"The ambassador made mistakes in 2015, made comments that should not have been made".

In late December, Hoekstra apologized for telling a Dutch journalist that he was peddling "fake news" when Hoekstra was the one caught telling untruths. It was awkward, to be honest'. "That is actually an incorrect statement", he told reporter Wouter Zwart. Hoekstra had brazenly denied making those remarks - even though they were captured on videotape - in a one-on-one interview with a Dutch journalist in December.

In another exchange, a reporter asked Hoekstra to look at a John Adams quote mounted on a fireplace that states a concern that only "honest and wise men ever rule under this roof".

He speculated that some 10 to 15 percent of the Muslim community in the world - what would amount to as many as 270 million people - were radical Islamist militants and appeared to imply that former Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin had "egregious" ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, a recent conspiracy theory that The Washington Post and other publications have determined to be baseless. He studiously avoided answering the hard questions of Dutch journalists only to eventually lose control of the situation.

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