Welcome home, Peter Hoekstra.
‘This is the Netherlands. You have to answer questions.’
It turns out the United States doesn’t have a monopoly on excruciating interviews with members of Team Trump.
In his first press conference with the Dutch media since being named the U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands, Hoekstra — born in Holland but raised in Michigan — was hit with the one question he should have been prepared to answer.
As you can see in this clip, he clearly was not.
Today Dutch press welcomed @petehoekstra as new ambassador to the Netherlands. In 2015 Hoekstra said Dutch”politicians are being burned” (not true). The only one who did get burned today is… Hoekstra himself. By refusing to answer our questions. pic.twitter.com/Dv2aalbhDP
— Roel Geeraedts (@RGjournalist) January 10, 2018
The tweet refers to unsubstantiated claims Hoekstra made in 2015 about how the “Islamic movement” was wreaking havoc in the country.
“There are cars being burned, there are politicians that are being burned,” Hoekstra said at the time. “And, yes, there are no-go zones in the Netherlands.” Sounds a lot like Trump’s claim in 2015 that parts of the U.K. were effectively off-limits.
This isn’t the first cringe-worthy dodge Hoekstra has executed with such scant aplomb on this topic. Here he is throwing the classic “fake news” counterpunch — and whiffing badly — back in December:
Dutch journalist to new US Ambassador: you said there were ‘no go zones’ in Netherlands, where are they?
Ambassador: That’s fake news, I didn’t say that
Journalist: We can show you that clip now.
Ambassador: Err 😳🤥 pic.twitter.com/8ohIOzmYAc
— Sunny Hundal (@sunny_hundal) December 22, 2017
Hoekstra, who has a long history of fueling conspiracy theories about Muslims, was tapped for the job by Trump and confirmed by the Senate in November. He had served 18 years as a Republican congressman from Michigan.