On Wednesday, Hoekstra dug himself into an even deeper hole at a Dutch press conference marking the beginning of his ambassadorship, when reporters asked again for him to clarify: "Are politicians being burned in the Netherlands?".
His very first press conference as US ambassador to Amsterdam did not go well for Pete Hoekstra, the former US Congressman of Dutch descent.
"This is the Netherlands, you have to answer questions", another reporter said.
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"The Ambassador did not answer some of the questions that were asked of him".
Dutch reporters didn't move on, however, pressing for clarification, the Times reported. "There are politicians that are being burned", he said.
While Hoekstra told the crowd he was "moving on" from the anti-refugee remarks, he still couldn't avoid the issue, as yet another reporter asked, "Will you be visiting our "no-go areas"?"
"I issued a statement, I expressed my regrets, and my apology for the comments that I made, and I'm not revisiting the issue", Hoekstra said, and then looked in another direction, in attempt to take another question. The clash was over comments he made in 2015 when he said Muslims had created chaos throughout Europe and accused them of "burning cars and politicians" in the Netherlands.
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"The Ambassador made mistakes in 2015, made comments that should not have been made", Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs Steve Goldstein told reporters.
"Please, this is not how it works", the first reporter added.
"There are cars being burned, there are politicians that are being burned", he had said at a conference hosted by a conservative group. All they wanted to ask him about was the false statement about "no-go zones" and which politician had been burned by Muslim extremists. Yet Hoekstra doubled down: "I didn't call that fake news". "I never said that". It was awkward, to be honest'.
Video of the freakish exchange, juxtaposed with his "no-go zone" remarks, went viral, and the episode drew a slew of critical headlines in the United States and the Netherlands. "And yes, there are no-go zones in the Netherlands".
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He speculated that some 10 to 15 percent of the Muslim community in the world - what would amount to as many as 270 million people - were radical Islamist militants and appeared to imply that former Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin had "egregious" ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, a recent conspiracy theory that The Washington Post and other publications have determined to be baseless.