Trump's ambassador to the Netherlands tweets photo of Nazi cemetery, calling it a 'terrible reminder' of the cost of war
Pete Hoekstra, the US ambassador to the Netherlands, on Thursday visited a Dutch cemetery where members of an elite Nazi unit intricately involved in the Holocaust are buried. "A terrible reminder of the cost of going to war and why we must always work towards peace," Hoekstra tweeted on his visit to the Ysselsteyn cemetery. It's unclear if Hoekstra was aware members of the Waffen SS, the elite Nazi unit, are buried at the cemetery. Trump tapped Hoekstra to be the US ambassador to the Netherlands in 2017. His tenure got off to a rocky start due to anti-Muslim comments he made regarding the Netherlands back in 2015.
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President Donald Trump's ambassador to the Netherlands, Pete Hoekstra, on Thursday visited a Dutch cemetery where many Nazis are buried and described it as a "terrible reminder of the cost of going to war." "Walked among the graves at Ysselsteyn, a cemetery for German soldiers from WWI & WWII. A terrible reminder of the cost of going to war and why we must always work towards peace," Hoekstra tweeted. Many members of the the Waffen SS, an elite Nazi military unit, are buried at the Ysselsteyn cemetery. The Waffen SS was responsible for numerous war crimes and intricately involved in the Holocaust.
Walked among the graves at Ysselsteyn, a cemetery for German soldiers from WWI & WWII. A terrible reminder of the cost of going to war and why we must always work towards peace. pic.twitter.com/K1YDfRaAQd — Ambassador Pete Hoekstra (@usambnl) July 30, 2020
Neo-Nazis have been known to visit the cemetery to honor dead Nazi soldiers, according to the Times of Israel. The German ambassador to the Netherlands in 2014 faced criticism from Jewish groups over a visit to the cemetery, the Jerusalem Post reported at the time. It's unclear whether Hoekstra, a Republican who formerly represented Michigan's 2nd congressional district in the House of Representatives, was aware of the cemetery's connection with Nazis during his visit and in tweeting the photo. The US ambassador to the Netherlands did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider. The State Department has not yet offered a comment on the matter, either. Hoekstra was tapped by Trump to be the US ambassador to the Netherlands in 2017. He was sworn in on December 11, 2017. His tenure began with a controversy over anti-Muslim comments he made in 2015 in relation to the Netherlands. Hoekstra at the time falsely said there were "no-go zones" in the Netherlands. When confronted with his remarks by a Dutch journalist in December 2017, the ambassador dismissed his own words as "fake news." The journalist then played a clip of Hoekstra making the remarks, proving him wrong. And just moments after he described his 2015 remarks as "fake news," Hoekstra denied ever using the phrase even though the entire exchange was caught on camera. He later apologized and admitted that his remarks in 2015 were "wrong." Hoekstra was born in the Netherlands, but his family moved to Holland, Michigan, when he was a child. Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why electric planes haven't taken off yet
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