Hoekstra, a former Michigan congressman and notorious Islamaphobe, just ignores his past comments the Dutch find so offensive. While such behavior is routine and accepted here by a compliant media, it's simply not tolerated by reporters elsewhere.
The United States gets humiliated with Hoekstra's every media appearance, and it's probably just a matter of time before Hoekstra gets recalled. One would hope so anyway. This is embarrassing.
As one journalist said, "The only one who did get burned today is... Hoekstra himself. By refusing to answer our questions."
Peter Hoekstra, the newly minted U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands, held his first conference with the Dutch media at his new residence in the Hague on Wednesday.
It did not go well.
Dutch journalists peppered Hoekstra, who became Trump’s ambassador after serving 18 years as a Republican congressman from Michigan, with questions on unsubstantiated claims he made in 2015 about the chaos the “Islamic movement” had brought to the Netherlands.
“There are cars being burned, there are politicians that are being burned,” he had said at a conference hosted by a conservative group. “And yes, there are no-go zones in the Netherlands.”
The comments have widely been described as inaccurate, and reflect certain conspiracies about sharia law that crop up in some circles of the far-right in the West. When pressed by the Dutch reporters, Hoekstra declined to retract the comments or give specific examples to back them up.
In fact, after saying that he would be “revisiting the issue,” he simply refused to answer the question at all.
But the reporters were not done with the line of questioning yet. Instead of moving on, another reporter would simply ask a variation on the question again.
“Everybody there had one question: that crazy statement you made, are you going to withdraw it?” said Roel Geeraedts, a political reporter at the Dutch television station RTL Nieuws in a phone interview about the event. “We were not getting answers, so we all kept asking it.”