In July, U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands Pete Hoekstra visited a Nazi graveyard, prompting outrage from Jews and others. Now the Washington Post reports that the former Michigan congressman hosted an event for a far-right Dutch party and donors at the U.S. Embassy in The Hague in September.
The Dutch magazine De Groene Amsterdammer was the first to report on Hoekstra’s event for the Forum for Democracy (FvD). The FvD is anti-immigration and opposes the European Union. Its head, Thierry Baudet, is a supporter of President Donald Trump, who appointed Hoekstra to his post in 2017.
Sjoerd Wiemer Sjoerdsma, a member of parliament and foreign policy spokesman for Democrats 66, a liberal party in the Dutch coalition government, told the Post Hoekstra’s action was a “violation of the Treaty of Vienna” signed by the United States and the Netherlands in 1961.
Bram van Ojik, a member of parliament with the left-wing GroenLinks party said Hoekstra’s event constituted “interference in our elections.”
The State Department didn’t respond to the Post, but U.S. officials told Dutch media that it was a routine event.
Hoekstra previously spoke at an FvD conference in December and appeared in a video series from the party.
Hoekstra faced controversy before. In 2017, he was confronted about anti-Muslim remarks in which he claimed there are “no-go zones” in the Netherlands. Although Hoekstra claimed it was “fake news,” a Dutch TV interview surfaced with him saying it. He later apologized.
He represented West Michigan in Congress from 1993 to 2011 when he unsuccessfully ran for Michigan governor, losing the GOP primary to Rick Snyder, who would go on to serve two terms as governor. Hoekstra also was defeated by U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing) in the 2012 election, where his China-themed ad was denounced as racist.