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Time to prepare another apology to the Dutch

U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra R-Mich., March 8, 2016 file photo
U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra R-Mich., March 8, 2016 file photo

The trouble started in earnest nearly six years ago. On the presidential campaign trail, former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) appeared at a forum and told an audience about the horrors of Dutch health care.

"In the Netherlands, people wear different bracelets if they are elderly," Santorum said at the time. "And the bracelet is: 'Do not euthanize me.' Because they have voluntary euthanasia in the Netherlands but half of the people who are euthanized – 10% of all deaths in the Netherlands – half of those people are euthanized involuntarily at hospitals because they are older and sick. And so elderly people in the Netherlands don't go to the hospital."

As it turns out, everything Santorum said was completely bonkers.

More recently, it was Donald Trump's turn to deceive the public about events in the Netherlands. The American president used his Twitter account to promote anti-Muslim propaganda videos from a right-wing group in the U.K., about events that took place in the Netherlands, though the information in the videos turned out to be wrong.

This week, as a Dutch news outlet reported, it was Pete Hoekstra's turn.

The new US ambassador to the Netherlands has denied saying that there are no go areas in the Netherlands and that cars and politicians are being set on fire because of radical Islam.In an interview with current affairs programme Nieuwsuur, Pete Hoekstra told NOS correspondent Wouter Zwart he had never said such things. 'I didn't say that. That is actually an incorrect statement. We would call it fake news,' Hoekstra said.

The trouble, of course, is that there's a video of the former Republican congressman saying, "The Islamic movement has now gotten to a point where they have put Europe into chaos. Chaos in the Netherlands, there are cars being burnt, there are politicians that are being burnt ... and yes there are no-go zones in the Netherlands."

In other words, Hoekstra denied having said what he was recorded having said.

Hoekstra, perhaps best known for leaking like a sieve when he chaired the House Intelligence Committee, was sworn in as the Trump administration's new U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands two weeks ago, but he won't arrive in the Netherlands until next month.

It's not too late to find someone else for the position.