US Ambassador to Netherlands Clashes with Dutch Reporters Over Remarks About Muslims

Hoekstra's first false comments were made in 2015, in which the former MI congressman said the "Islamic movement" has sent Europe into "chaos", adding that cars and politicians were being burned inside the Netherlands.

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.

His very first press conference as US ambassador to Amsterdam did not go well for Pete Hoekstra, the former US Congressman of Dutch descent.

This story was recalled last month, when a Dutch reporter buttonholed Hoekstra, picked by President Trump to be ambassador to the Netherlands, and asked him about the statement he made.

At one point, a frustrated journalist declared, "This is the Netherlands ― you have to answer questions". "Yes or no", one asked.

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.

On Thursday, the State Department said the USA administration does not stand by these allegations, nor does it believe as Hoekstra apparently does in Muslim controlled "no-go zones".

He added: "Chaos in the Netherlands - there are cars being burned". A silence followed but was broken when Hoekstra replied "thank you". Later, after being played a recording of his comment, he denied calling it fake news.

Hoekstra has been in hot water in the Netherlands for the remarks since he was first confronted by a Dutch journalist, Wouter Zwart, in December.

His attempt at escaping a direct confrontation on the remarks by using the Trump administration's "fake news" motto didn't go so well either, as Hoekstra was quickly refuted on Twitter after he claimed he didn't make the "no go-zones" comment when there is video of him doing just that.

A CNN report published this week documented multiple times Hoekstra had referred to "no-go zones", in European cities during appearances on conservative media, including talk radio, and a print op-ed, and unearthed other instances where he had given fuel to conspiracy theories about Muslims.

In fact, the next day after the December interview, Hoekstra issued an apology, admitting he "made certain remarks in 2015 and regrets the exchange during the Nieuwsuur interview".

"A lot of Dutch people have seen the press conferences of the White House and seen how some questions are not answered", he said. US press officers prevented some reporters from asking more questions about the issue.

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