@Nieuwsuur to new US ambassador: "You mentioned [..] that there are no go-zones in the Netherlands and that cars and politicians are set on fire."— Christiaan Triebert (@trbrtc) December 21, 2017
Pete Hoekstra: "I didn't say that. That's actually an incorrect statement [..] fake news."
Hmm, let's have a look at the footage 🤔 pic.twitter.com/vlstN9vhSK
The U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands said Saturday he “regrets” an embarrassing Dutch TV interview in which he called his own comments “fake news” and then denied calling them fake news.
Peter Hoekstra was questioned earlier this month on the Dutch news program “Nieuswsuur” on his incorrect comments that Muslim militants had created dangerous “no-go zones” in the Netherlands, and that cars and politicians were “being burned.” An irritated Hoekstra denied ever making such comments to reporter Wouter Zwart of Dutch broadcaster NOS, calling the claim “fake news.”
The program then ran a video of Hoekstra in 2015 making the exact point about no-go zones. Hoekstra immediately denied on air that he had ever called the question fake news.
“I didn’t call that ‘fake news.’ I didn’t use the words today,” he said. “No, I don’t think I did.”
Zwart, obviously stunned, shook his head, and said, “Okay.”
In his tweeted apology, Hoekstra said: “I made certain remarks in 2015 and regret the exchange during the “Nieuwsuur” interview. Please accept my apology.”
Judging by responses on Twitter, the Dutch aren’t so keen to forgive and forget. A number of people pointed out that the botched first impression Hoekstra made to the nation will be hard to reverse.
Hoekstra, a former Michigan congressman and fervent supporter of President Donald Trump, moved to the U.S. from the Netherlands at age 3. His insistence two years ago that “radical Islamists” had established several dangerous “no-go” zones throughout Europe was not true.
He was sworn in as the new ambassador to the Netherlands on Dec. 11.