Pressed on False Claims About Muslims, U.S. Ambassador Goes Silent

Pressed on False Claims About Muslims, U.S. Ambassador Goes Silent


The ambassador repeated that he did not want to revisit the remarks and that he had expressed regrets. He then stopped replying, looking silently around the room as journalists continued to question him, according to a video published by The Associated Press.

“Any example of a Dutch politician who is burned in recent years?” one reporter asked.

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

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

Mr. Hoekstra made the original remarks at a conference hosted by the David Horowitz Freedom Center, a conservative group, where he argued that the “Islamic movement” had plunged Europe into chaos.

“Chaos in the Netherlands. There are cars being burned. There are politicians that are being burned,” Mr. Hoekstra said. “And yes, there are no-go zones in the Netherlands.”

The comments were captured on video, but Mr. Hoekstra denied ever having made them in an interview last month with Wouter Zwart, a reporter with the Dutch news program Nieuwsuur.

“I didn’t say that. That is actually an incorrect statement,” Mr. Hoekstra told Mr. Zwart. “Yeah, we would call it fake news.” Shortly after that, in the same interview, Mr. Hoekstra denied having used the term “fake news.”

After the interview, Mr. Hoekstra, who was born in the Netherlands but moved to the United States as a child, said in a statement that he had “made certain remarks” in 2015 and expressed “regret” for the exchange with Mr. Zwart. “Please accept my apology,” he wrote.

Reached for comment Thursday, a State Department spokesman said, “Ambassador Hoekstra has addressed this issue twice. We refer you to his written statement and his press conference.”

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Source: nytimes.com

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