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Pete Hoekstra
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    (October 30, 1953- )
    Born in Groningen, Netherlands
    Represented Michigan’s Second District in Congress (1993-2011)
    Chaired the House Intelligence Committee (2004-07)
    Founding member of the House Tea Party Caucus (2010)
    Nominated as Ambassador to the Netherlands by President Donald Trump (July, 2017)
    Confirmed by the US Senate (November 9, 2017)
    When elected, he pledged to serve no more than six terms in the House, but ended up serving nine.
    He ran unsuccessfully for Governor or Michigan (2010) and the US Senate (2012).
    During his Senate campaign, he drew the ire of Asian-American groups with a TV ad that opened with a gong and featured a Chinese woman thanking ‘Senator Debbie Spenditnow’ in broken English. (‘Debbie spend so much American money…. Your economy get very weak. Ours get very good.’)
    During an address to the David Horowitz Freedom Center, he claimed the Netherlands had ‘no-go zones’ in which radical Muslims set cars and politicians on fire (2015).
    Asked by Dutch journalist Woulter Zwart about his ‘no-go zone’ comments, he replied, ‘I didn’t say that…. We would call that fake news.’ Zwart later played the clip of him saying ‘no-go zones.’ (December 21, 2018).
    Later in the same interview, he declared, ‘I didn’t call that fake news. I didn’t use those words today.’
    He campaigned by bicycling across his district.
    He told an interviewer, ‘It is clear that the Netherlands has made a different choice in a number of areas than the USA. You must respect that as a foreign politician, even though you have a different opinion.’
    You could make a case that someone capable of keeping a straight face while denying remarks they had made only minutes earlier is uniquely qualified to represent the administration that gave the world ‘alternative facts.’

Credit: C. Fishel

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