U.S. Ambassador says sorry for Dutch “fake news” row

Pete Hoekstra and Donald Trump, Oct 2016
Pete Hoekstra and Donald Trump, Oct 2016. (Photo: @petehoekstra / Twitter)

Pete Hoekstra, the new United States ambassador to the Netherlands, apologized for a "fake news" commotion he caused during an interview with Nieuwsuur. "I made certain remarks in 2015 and regret the exchange during the Nieuwsuur interview. Please accept my apology", he said on Twitter.

During an interview with Nieuwsuur last week, Hoekstra was asked about comments he made in 2015. During a debate in that year he talked about the "Islamist movement" causing chaos in Europe. "Chaos in the Netherlands. There are cars being burned. There are politicians that are being burned... and yes, there are no-go zones in the Netherlands."

When Nieuwsuur asked him about these statements, the ambassador denied ever making them. "That is actually an incorrect statement, we would call it fake news", Hoekstra said. "I never said that."

The broadcaster then played a video clip of Hoekstra making these statements. After some more discussion, Hoekstra then denied calling the statements fake news. "I didn't call that fake news", he said. "I didn't use the words today. I didn't think I did."

On Friday Prime Minister Mark Rutte refused to comment on this incident. He said he looks forward to the new ambassador's arrival in the Netherlands in January. "We'll first get to know each other and try to build a relationship", he said, according to NU.nl.