The new US ambassador to the Netherlands has said anti-Muslim comments he made in 2015 were "just wrong", two days after a news conference when he wouldn't say the comments were factually inaccurate. "With the influx of the Islamic community - and yes, there are no-go zones in the Netherlands".
Hoekstra, a former Republican congressman from MI and recent political appointee, made the apology during an interview Friday with De Telegraaf, one of the largest Dutch newspapers, at the end of a particularly rough week for the new ambassador.
"That politicians are being burned, that was an inaccurate statement", he said. That was a wrong statement.
According to an excerpt published by The Guardian, Hoekstra said, "I got countries mixed up". I was wrong. I can't recall how that could happen.
Hoekstra was speaking at a November 2015 conference organized by the conservative David Horowitz Freedom Center. While you know there have been other issues in other countries in Europe, you know that has never been the circumstances here. When Hoekstra held his first press conference at the Netherlands he was greeted by question after question on his fake claims about "no-go zones" in the country. "That was just wrong". Hoekstra eventually stopped responding to questions.
" 'The State Department does not agree with those statements".
The remarks have clouded Hoekstra's early days in the Netherlands, bringing criticism and controversy to the otherwise routine ritual of installing a new ambassador in a closely allied country.
"The ambassador made mistakes in 2015, made comments that should not have been made".
Goldstein, also a political appointee of President Donald Trump, had said during a Washington briefing that it was his belief that the ambassador should answer reporters' questions in the future. "We have made clear to the ambassador that he must move to get this behind him".
Asked by the newspaper if it was normal to be so "frivolous" with facts, Hoekstra said: "I formulated it incorrectly".
Hoekstra called his denial in that interview of having spoken about "chaos" in the Netherlands a "miscommunication". He was sworn in as ambassador to Holland on December 11.