US ambassador denies own comments, then denies denial

The new US ambassador to the Netherlands lied twice to a Dutch news crew about 2015 comments he made saying the count...

Posted: Dec. 24, 2017 12:49 AM
Updated: Dec. 24, 2017 12:49 AM

The new US ambassador to the Netherlands lied twice to a Dutch news crew about 2015 comments he made saying the country was in chaos because of Muslims.

"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," said now-US ambassador to the Netherlands Peter Hoekstra in 2015 at the David Horowitz Freedom Center's 2015 Restoration Weekend.

Ambassador Hoekstra was blaming what he broadly described as the "Islamist movement" for the chaos, referencing a "stealth jihad."

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 says. "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."

Zwart then looks back at the camera, saying he was surprised and confused by those remarks, he tells 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.

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