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Reporters at a press conference repeatedly asked Pete Hoekstra, the new USA ambassador to the Netherlands, to comment on his remarks at a hearing in 2015.

Reporters repeatedly asked Pete Hoekstra to offer proof of his claim that politicians and cars have been burned and that there are "no-go zones" in the Netherlands.

Reporters in the Netherlands grilled the new US ambassador to that country, Peter Hoekstra, on Wednesday, with one journalist questioning whether President Trump's emissary is "an honest and wise man".

At the press conference one journalist asked him: "Can you mention any example of a Dutch politician who was burned in recent years?" "You have to answer questions", a female reporter said.

At least one more journalist fired the question off. Reporters had asked the question at least five times.

Hoekstra said on Wednesday he did not want to revisit the issue - but that did not stop Dutch reporters from pressing unsuccessfully for a clarification. "And yes, there are no-go zones in the Netherlands".

"Do you now reach the conclusion you were wrong when you stated that politicians and cars were being burned?"

"Could you please take back the remark about burned politicians or name the politician that was burned in the Netherlands?" another said.

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Hoekstra simply responded by saying, "Thank you".

Last month in Washington, a Dutch reporter from the Nieuwsuur television program questioned Hoekstra about the "no-go zones" comment.

I submit that the USA media's fact-checking industry is pretty robust and that we have our share of confrontational news conferences, too.

The reporters wanted to know whether Hoekstra still stood behind an inflammatory and unsubstantiated claim he made in 2015 about Islamists turning the Netherlands into some kind of hellscape. "That is actually an incorrect statement", he said at that time, adding "we [in the US] would call it fake news".

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. "And yes, there are no-go zones in the Netherlands".

Hoekstra then backtracked after the video of the exchange went viral. "He's been received well by the Dutch government, and we hope that he can be received well by the people of the Netherlands".

In a Twitter message on Dec 23, Hoekstra said: "I made certain remarks in 2015 and regret the exchange during the Nieuwsuur interview".

"The Ambassador did not answer some of the questions that were asked of him. Please accept my apology", he said.


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