New ambassador Pete Hoekstra then denied saying he’d used the phrase in interview with Dutch TV
The US ambassador to the Netherlands faced an excruciating moment on television when he denied ever saying that there were no-go zones in the Netherlands, calling the suggestion “fake news”.
Trump’s new choice for ambassador, Pete Hoekstra, who was only sworn in by the vice president, Mike Pence, on 11 December, was being interviewed for current affairs programme Nieuwsuur by reporter Wouter Zwart.
Zwart says: “You mentioned in a debate that there are no-go zones in the Netherlands, and that cars and politicians are being set on fire in the Netherlands.”
Hoekstra replies: “I didn’t say that. This is actually an incorrect statement. We would call it fake news.”
Hoekstra is then shown clips of him saying: “The Islamic movement has now gotten to a point where they have put Europe into chaos. Chaos in the Netherlands, there are cars being burnt, there are politicians that are being burnt ... and yes there are no-go zones in the Netherlands.”
Challenged about having called this “fake news”, Hoekstra then went on to deny to Zwart that he had in fact used the phrase “fake news”.
“I didn’t call that fake news. I didn’t use the words today. I don’t think I did.”
Hoekstra, who was born in Groningen in the Netherlands, was a Republican Congressman for Michigan between 1993 and 2011, and served as chair of the House intelligence committee for two years during that time.