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State Dept. Won't Say New Diplomat's Claim Of 'No-Go Zones' In Europe Was Wrong

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U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands Peter Hoekstra had a tense news conference Wednesday when Dutch reporters pressed him on anti-Muslim comments he made in 2015. John Thys/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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A State Department spokesperson on Thursday said anti-Muslim comments made by President Trump’s new ambassador to the Netherlands “were not the position of the State Department” — but he also declined to say the comments had been factually inaccurate.

The partial disavowal came a day after Ambassador Pete Hoekstra’s first news conference in the Netherlands, in which he was pressed by Dutch reporters to retract the false claims he made in 2015 — when he said the “Islamic movement” was responsible for “no-go zones” and politicians “being burned” in the Netherlands.

“The State Department does not agree with those statements. That is not the language that we would use,” the State Department’s undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs, Steve Goldstein, told reporters in Washington Thursday.

Goldstein was responding to questions about an event in November 2015, when Hoekstra spoke on a panel in Charleston, S.C., that was organized by the conservative David Horowitz Freedom

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