Reporters Demand He Explains Himself.
Peter Hoekstra, the Trump-appointed Ambassador to the Netherlands, suffered in the hands of persistent Dutch reporters when he did his maiden news conference. The event, normally a sedate affair, turned to a game of avoiding and sidestepping questions by Hoekstra. The latter was found to inadequately defend his past statements on a range of issues. Most of them concerned immigration. The press conference was held at his newly allocated residence located in The Hague. The ambassador is an ethnic Dutch by birth, being born in The Netherlands, but brought up in the United States. His family lived in Michigan and he was raised in the city.
The Dutch reporters hammered away at the US ambassador, ignoring multiple pleas from him to forget everything about what he said about the immigrant situation in The Netherlands in the past. Compounding his problems is that there was a video recording of him lying that the European country had been taken over by Islamist radicals who supposedly have carved out zones where non-Muslims cannot enter. Dutch politicians have reputedly been set alight when they tried to enter these zones. Hoekstra also claimed that about 10 percent to 15 percent of Muslims of the total world Muslim population subscribed to militancy.
Hoekstra at first declined to answer a direct question posed by one reporter. The question was whether the American ambassador truly believed that Dutch politicians were set alight by extremist Muslims. The other reporters pressed him on the same point and asked the right-leaning politician-turned-ambassador if he is a wise and an honest man, then will he take back his remarks about burning politicians? The reporters also gave him an addendum: if he does not want to take back his remarks, could the ambassador name the Dutch politician who was burned in The Netherlands by Muslim extremists?
For Hoekstra, this kind of predicament is not new. In December, he put himself in the center of a controversy when Wouter Zwart, a Dutch journalist, asked him about the remarks he made earlier. The ambassador then claimed to have never made the remarks and termed them “fake news”. A few moments later, he denied that he has ever said the term “fake news”. The full episode was caught on camera and subsequently broadcast. The exchange resulted in a number of critical media headlines against Hoekstra both in The Netherlands and also in the United States.