Trump Ambassador to the Netherlands Who Claimed Islam Caused 'Chaos' in Europe Refuses to Address the Controversy

The United States ambassador to the Netherlands on Wednesday refused to answer Dutch reporters' questions about controversial comments he made in 2015, including an assertion that the "Islamic movement… [had] put Europe into chaos."

Pete Hoekstra, whom President Donald Trump nominated last summer, made headlines in December when a Dutch reporter asked him about comments he made at a 2015 conference. Hoekstra denied making them—despite a video of the conference that showed otherwise.

"The Islamic movement has now gotten to a point where they have put Europe into chaos. 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 says in the clip.

At a Wednesday press conference marking Hoekstra's first official day as ambassador, reporters "repeatedly" asked Hoekstra to address those comments, as well as the December incident, the Associated Pressreported.

"This is the Netherlands, you have to answer questions," one reporter maintained, according to the outlet.

The ambassador, however, declined to do so, the AP reported.

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During his exchange with the reporter in December, Hoekstra—who served as a GOP Congressman for Michigan from 1993 until 2011—called claims that he'd said there were "no-go zones" in the Netherlands "fake news," before backtracking on his remark soon after.

"I didn't call that fake news," Hoekstra maintained. "I didn't use the words today."

He later issued a Twitter apology for both the 2015 remarks and the exchange with the reporter.

Nevertheless, Hoekstra has "made unsubstantiated claims about the nature of Muslim communities in Europe and pushed a hardline view of Islam" as recently as last year, according to a CNN KFile review.

In 2017, Hoekstra maintained that 10 or 15 percent of Muslims could be part of a "radical jihadist, Islamic force," while in 2016 he chastised former presidents Bush and Obama for calling Islam a peaceful religion, CNN reported.

"The average person on the streets says, 'whoa there.' See they're beheading Christians, there's you know, there are suicide bombers, they're taking gays and lesbians and throwing them off the top of buildings, and they're selling women into sex slavery. That doesn't kind of look like a religion of peace to me," he said, according to CNN.

In a 2015 radio show appearance, meanwhile, he said he'd "considered [the] possibility" that Obama "would… want to create a safe haven for radical jihadists," the outlet said.

Trump Ambassador to the Netherlands Who Claimed Islam Caused 'Chaos' in Europe Refuses to Address the Controversy | World