The new United States ambassador to the Netherlands is having a rough welcoming, as Dutch reporters viciously grilled Pete Hoekstra yesterday on his conspiracy-tinged comments about Muslims living in the country.
Hoekstra is known for being a particularly conservative Republican politician who is against gay marriage, opposed to legalized abortion in all circumstances, and supports U.S. President Donald Trump's attempts to ban entry into the U.S. from citizens of several countries with large Muslim populations.
With the help of an aide, he tried to move onto another topic, but other journalists continued to ask similar questions, such as for examples of a Dutch politician who had been burned in recent years.
"This is the Netherlands, you have to answer questions", another reporter said. But Hoekstra, squirming through his first news conference in The Hague, was merely the more visible of the Dutch media's two targets.
Wednesday's press conference was not Hoekstra's first awkward exchange with a Dutch reporter.
The reporter showed him the exact clip in which Hoekstra had made the remarks about chaos and burning, and said, "You call that fake news?"
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"We were all astonished that he didn't want to take back the comment. He's been received well by the Dutch government, and we hope that he can be received well by the people of the Netherlands". One asked Hoekstra if he would be visiting "our no-go areas".
You may remember Hoekstra from his viral humiliation in December, when he was caught on camera lying about racist and unfounded statements about the threat of radical Islam.
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", he said. Hoekstra last month denied making the comments from 2015.
In a December 23 note on Twitter Hoekstra acknowledged having made the comments in 2015 and said he regretted his exchange with the Dutch news organization: "I made certain remarks in 2015 and regret the exchange during the Nieuwsuur interview".
"And he also plans over the weekend to be available within numerous communities in in the capital, including Muslim communities".
According to a report from The Washington Post, reporters repeatedly asked Hoekstra to offer proof of his claim that politicians and cars have been burned and that there are "no-go zones" in the Netherlands. "Please accept my apology".
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