PM Rutte: Wilders' fake news tactic "totally tasteless" and "not normal"

Mark Rutte (Photo: Nick van Ormondt/Wikimedia Commons)Mark Rutte (Photo: Nick van Ormondt/Wikimedia Commons)

The Photoshopped image PVV leader Geert Wilders tweeted of D66 leader Alexander Pechtold is "totally tasteless", Prime Minister Mark Rutte (VVD) said on television program Jinek. The image, which shows Pechtold protesting with Sharia supporters, caused quite a bit of controversy over the past days and raised concerns that fake news tactics will be used in the run up to the Netherlands' parliamentary elections on March 15th.

Rutte thinks that Wilders went too far with the image. According to him, politicians should be firm opponents of each other and debate their views. "But this really crosses a line. It is totally not normal." Rutte said. In a campaign ad a few weeks ago Rutte called on everyone in the Netherlands to "act normal" and if they don't like that, to leave the country.

Pechtold himself also said that Wilders crossed a line. He initially considered pressing charges against the PVV leader, but later decided against it. "Decency can't be enforced by the court", he said according to NOS. 

Rutte called Pechtold on Monday to express his support. When asked whether he admonished Wilders on the matter, Rutte said that since 2014 the two of them haven't "really had a long conversation".