SEVERE WX: Tornado Watch - Severe Thunderstorm Watch View Alerts

US ambassador apologizes for 2015 remarks he had called 'fake news'

The new US Ambassador to the Netherlands is apologizing for "certain remarks" he made in 2015 suggesting that the Net...

Posted: Dec. 25, 2017 11:33 AM
Updated: Dec. 25, 2017 11:33 AM

The new US Ambassador to the Netherlands is apologizing for "certain remarks" he made in 2015 suggesting that the Netherlands was in chaos because of Muslims.

Ambassador Pete Hoekstra lied twice to a Dutch news crew about his 2015 comments, calling it "fake news." But on Saturday, he admitted that he "made certain remarks in 2015 and regret the exchange during the Nieuwsuur interview," and apologized.

"For the last 17 years I've been passionate about confronting the global threat of terrorism," Hoekstra said in a statement on Twitter. "This has been a long struggle. We still have much to learn."

The apology comes after Hoekstra denied comments he made at the David Horowitz Freedom Center's 2015 Restoration Weekend, blaming what he broadly described as the "Islamist movement" for the chaos, referencing a "stealth jihad."

"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," Hoekstra said then.

When Wouter Zwart of CNN affiliate and Dutch broadcaster NOS asked about those comments in an interview in the US Capitol, Ambassador Hoekstra said he never said them.

"That is actually an incorrect statement; we would call it fake news," the Ambassador responded. "I never said that."

Zwart's report on NOS' Nieuwsuur program then plays the specific portion of Ambassador Hoekstra's 2015 comments. Zwart told CNN he did not play video of the remarks for Hoekstra, saying he "can't imagine he did not know of its existence," because it was widely available online.

"People including Intercept have written about it," Zwart said. "Can't imagine he did not know of its existence."

Zwart told CNN the Ambassador said, "he had always meant the [no go-zones] comments in a broader context of European problems with 'those areas,'" and that "he reiterated to me that he's never associated that with what's going on in the Netherlands."

After an additional discussion on terrorism with the Ambassador, Zwart says he discussed the comments again. His report picks back up with the exchange, with Zwart saying, "You call it fake news. Obviously."

"I didn't call that fake news," the Ambassador interjects. "I didn't use the words today. I didn't think I did."

In the video, Zwart then looks back at the camera, and says he's surprised and confused by those remarks, he confirmed to CNN.

The State Department told CNN they had no comment to make on whether Ambassador Hoekstra stands by his 2015 comments in addition to the exchange with Zwart.

In 2015, the new US Ambassador to the Netherlands blamed Muslims for chaos in Europe

Hoekstra, the new ambassador, zeroed-in on the Netherlands during the remarks

Hoekstra is now apologizing for the comments, after initially denying he ever said them

Related Content

Article Comments

Tupelo
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 77°
Feels Like: 87°
Columbus
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 89°
Oxford
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 94° Lo: 74°
Feels Like: 86°
Starkville
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 76°
Feels Like: 83°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather

Latest Video

Image

Matt's 10 PM Friday Forecast

Image

Junior Cadet Graduation

${article.thumbnail.title}

How to watch out for fraudulent charities

Image

Veteran Charity Scam

Image

3 injured in Lee County crash involving deputy

Image

Blaze causing church to burn down

Image

Pleasant Hill Baptist Church burned down

Image

Matt's 5 PM Friday Forecast

Image

Benton County church destroyed by fire

Image

Joel's Friday Afternoon Forecast: Intense heat followed by strong overnight storms