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Dutch reporters grill new Trump ambassador over past comments on Muslims

Dutch reporters grill new Trump ambassador over past comments on Muslims”

Peter Hoekstra, the newly appointed U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands, held his first press conference with the Dutch media at his resident in the Hague - and the reporters used the opportunity to challenge the ambassador on his unsubstantiated claims in 2015.

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.

Hoekstra issued a unusual half-apology last month after his first "fake news" confrontation, but provided absolutely no clarity on his false beliefs about burning cars and politicians, and mythical Sharia-ruled "no-go" zones in the Netherlands.

"Excuse me, I asked you a question", Geeraedts said. Hoekstra said he had read the quote, which expresses Adams' hope that only "honest and wise men ever rule under this roof".

In a statement a year ago, Hoekstra said: "I made certain remarks in 2015 and regret the exchange during the Nieuwsuur interview".

"This is the Netherlands, you have to answer questions", another reporter said.

The question was followed by a stunned silence from Hoekstra, who tried to gather his wits. "It was simply untrue, so why not take it back?" "It was awkward, to be honest".

President Donald Trump nominated Netherlands-born Hoekstra as ambassador to The Hague last July and the Senate confirmed the posting in November.

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When asked in December about the same comments in an interview with CNN affiliate and Dutch broadcaster NOS in the US Capitol, Hoekstra claimed he had never made them.

He told reporters he would work to build on existing strong links between the Netherlands and the United States.

Hoekstra's silence when faced with reporters' questions on Wednesday drew a similar response.

Hoekstra pointed to the public regrets he had made for the exchange with Zwart on Wednesday.

There are no instances in modern Dutch history of politicians being set alight, and no areas of the country considered no-go zones.

"It is not about my personal views anymore".

In 2017, Hoekstra maintained that 10 or 15 percent of Muslims could be part of a "radical jihadist, Islamic force", while in 2016 he chastised former presidents Bush and Obama for calling Islam a peaceful religion, CNN reported.

"A lot of Dutch people have seen the press conferences of the White House and seen how some questions are not answered", he said. He then thanked the reporter and called for another question, but the other members of the press didn't let him off the hook so easily.



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