Trump’s ambassador to the Netherlands, Pete Hoekstra, is proving himself to be just as embarrassing as many of this administration’s other appointees.
You may remember Hoekstra from his viral humiliation in December, when he was caught on camera lying about racist and unfounded statements about the threat of radical Islam. At a 2015 conference, he grossly exaggerated its dangers, claiming “the Islamic movement has now gotten to a point where they have put Europe into chaos.” Hoekstra said there is “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.”
When a reporter pressed him on the accuracy of these statements last month, he summoned the spirit of his appointer, Donald Trump, claiming: “I didn’t say that, it’s an incorrect statement. We’d call that fake news.”
Then that reporter showed him the exact clip in which he made the initial remarks about chaos and burning, and asked to confirm: “You call that fake news?” Hoekstra doubled down. “I didn’t call that fake news. I didn’t use those words today.”
On Wednesday, Hoekstra dug himself into an even deeper hole at a Dutch press conference marking the beginning of his ambassadorship when reporters asked again for Hoekstra to clarify: “Are politicians being burned in the Netherlands? Is that something you believe?”
“I’m not revisiting the issue,” Hoekstra replied. He refused to say anything further, and the room exploded in protest. “Why don’t you answer the question?” one journalist called out.
“This is the Netherlands, you have to answer questions,” another said. Whoever she is, she should be promoted to White House correspondant— god knows we could use her in the States.
Hoekstra issued a strange half-apology last month after his first “fake news” confrontation, but provided absolutely no clarity on his false beliefs about burning cars and politicians, and mythical Sharia-ruled “no-go” zones in the Netherlands. His racial insensitivity shouldn’t surprise anybody; Hoekstra came under fire for issuing this racist Super Bowl ad against his opponent in their 2012 race for Michigan Senate. (The comedy brand Funny or Die later released this parody of the ad, which is worth a watch if you need some comic relief from the constant pain of being American right now.)
There’s no respite from Trump’s vindictiveness and foolishness
As we know, even in the midst of a national emergency, Donald Trump could find time and bandwidth to continue his retribution campaign.
He dismissed Michael Atkinson, the inspector general for the intelligence agencies, for doing “a terrible job,” satisfying his own thirst for vengeance for anyone who actually adhered to law and practice over blind loyalty to Trump himself. Indeed, asked about it the next day, Trump underscored his action by saying, Atkinson “was no Trump supporter, that I can tell you.”
It was an act that we once would have labeled corruption, by Democrats and Republicans – that is using the office for personal purposes – if Congress and too many Americans had not since become inured by so many like instances.
This is how Taiwan and South Korea bucked the global lockdown trend
As the coronavirus pandemic sparks global lockdowns, life has continued comparatively unhindered in places like Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong after their governments and citizens took decisive early action against the unfolding crisis.
At first glance Taiwan looks like an ideal candidate for the coronavirus. The island of 23 million lies just 180 kilometres (110 miles) off mainland China.
Yet nearly 100 days in, Taiwan has just 376 confirmed cases and five fatalities while restaurants, bars, schools, universities and offices remain open.
The government of President Tsai Ing-wen, whose deputy is an epidemiologist, made tough decisions while the crisis was nascent to stave off the kind of pain now convulsing much of the rest of the world.
Republican ex-lawmaker with coronavirus scolds Wisconsin GOP for forcing voters to risk their health
On CNN Tuesday, former Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA), who is himself dealing with a bout of COVID-19, chastised the Wisconsin GOP for doing everything in their power to block the state elections from being moved — and forcing many voters to stand in line and risk exposure to the virus to cast their ballot.
"I have to tell you, here in Pennsylvania we have a Democratic governor and Republican legislature," Dent told host Don Lemon. "They postponed the election here from April 28 until June 2. Without any controversy. Everybody agreed it was the right thing to do and they moved on. I'm surprised Wisconsin took this risk, knowing they don't have to."