|United States Ambassador to the Netherlands|
January 10, 2018
|Shawn Crowley (Acting)|
|Ranking Member of the |
House Intelligence Committee
January 3, 2007 - January 3, 2011
|Chair of the House Intelligence Committee|
September 23, 2004 - January 3, 2007
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Michigan's 2nd district
January 3, 1993 - January 3, 2011
Cornelis Pieter Hoekstra
October 30, 1953
|Education||Hope College (BA)|
University of Michigan (MBA)
Cornelis Pieter "Pete" Hoekstra (; born October 30, 1953) is a Dutch-American politician serving as the United States Ambassador to the Netherlands since January 10, 2018. A member of the Republican Party, he previously served as the U.S. Representative for Michigan's 2nd congressional district from 1993 to 2011.
Born in the Netherlands, Hoekstra immigrated to the United States as a child. In 1992, Hoekstra ran for the U.S. House, defeating thirteen-term incumbent Guy Vander Jagt in the Republican primary and Democratic opponent John H. Miltner in the general election. Hoekstra was the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee from 2004 to 2007. He was a candidate for governor in Michigan's 2010 gubernatorial election, but came in second to Rick Snyder in the Republican primary. Hoekstra was also a candidate for the United States Senate in 2012, losing to Democratic incumbent Debbie Stabenow in the general election.
In July 2017, Hoekstra was nominated to be United States Ambassador to the Netherlands by President Donald Trump. This nomination was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on November 9, 2017, and Hoekstra was sworn in as U.S. Ambassador on December 11, 2017. He took office on January 10, 2018.
Hoekstra was born Piet Cornelis Hoekstra in Groningen, Netherlands. He moved to the U.S. with his parents at the age of three. Hoekstra graduated from Holland Christian High School in 1971. He received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Hope College in 1975 and an MBA from the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business in 1977. He then joined office furniture maker Herman Miller and remained there for 15 years, eventually becoming vice president of marketing.
In 1992, Hoekstra made his first bid for public office in the 2nd District. The district, previously the 9th, had been represented for 26 years by Guy Vander Jagt, longtime chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. Hoekstra rode his bicycle across the district, charging that Vander Jagt had served in Congress for too long. He scored a monumental upset, winning by almost six percent. This primary win was tantamount to election with the 2nd district seen as the "most Republican" district in Michigan, as Republicans have held the district for all but four years since it was created in 1873. Hoekstra later defeated Democrat John H. Miltner and Libertarian Dick Jacobs in the general election, with 63% of the vote. Hoekstra continued to ride his bicycle across the district every summer, and biked across the state for his gubernatorial campaign.
When he was first elected, Hoekstra initially pledged to only serve six terms (12 years) in the House. He eventually broke the term limits pledge and won election to seven successive terms. In 2006, Hoekstra's Leadership PAC (the Mileage Fund) raised nearly $160,000 in Political Action Contributions from contributors including the Teamsters, Michigan Credit Union League, and Little Planet Books.
Hoekstra faced no significant opposition in the Republican primary or in the general election (as in his previous five reelection campaigns) and went on to secure his seventh term. Shortly after the primary, he was named chairman of the Intelligence Committee, succeeding Porter Goss, who became Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Hoekstra ran for re-election in 2008 against Fred Johnson, associate professor of History at Hope College. He beat Johnson by 215,471 to 119,959 votes.
Hoekstra had a conservative voting record, consistent with the conservative nature of the 2nd congressional district. He opposed abortion rights, opposed expanding health care benefits for children, opposed gay adoption rights and gay marriage, and voted against paid parental leave for federal employees. However, he also opposed amending the Constitution to prohibit flag desecration.
Hoekstra consistently opposed gun control during his tenure, earning an A rating from the National Rifle Association. In 2005 he voted to prohibit product lawsuits against gun manufacturers. In 1994 he voted against the Federal Assault Weapons Ban.
Hoekstra was a proponent of the claim that the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), and held onto this belief even after no WMDs were found in the wake of the Iraq invasion. In 2006, Hoekstra made headlines by announcing at a press conference in the Capitol that weapons of mass destruction had been located in Iraq in the form of 500 chemical weapons. However, the weapons in question were defunct munitions, manufactured prior to the 1991 Gulf War and which had been scattered throughout Iraq. The media had already reported on these munitions when Hoekstra made his announcement that the weapons had been discovered. Hoekstra's insistence that the Hussein regime possessed weapons of mass destruction were disputed by both Pentagon officials, the Duelfer Report, and the intelligence community.
On November 3, 2006, The New York Times reported that a website created at the request of Hoekstra and Senator Pat Roberts was found to contain detailed information that could potentially be helpful to those seeking to produce nuclear weapons. The website was shut down on November 2 following questioning by The New York Times.
As of September 17, 2007, some news outlets reported that the Congressional committee Hoekstra had overseen had created "erroneous" and "misleading" reports about Iran's nuclear capabilities. "Among the committee's assertions is that Iran is producing weapons-grade uranium at its facility in the town of Natanz. The IAEA called that "incorrect", noting that weapons-grade uranium is enriched to a level of 90 percent or more. Iran has enriched uranium to 3.5 percent under IAEA monitoring." 
During the 2003 invasion of Iraq, some 48,000 boxes of documents, audiotapes and videotapes were discovered by the U.S. military. In March 2006, the U.S. government, at the urging of members of Congress, made them available online at its Foreign Military Studies Office website, requesting Arabic translators around the world to help in the translation. On April 18, 2006, about a month after the first documents were made public, Congressman Pete Hoekstra, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, issued a news release acknowledging "minimal risks," but saying the site "will enable us to better understand information such as Saddam's links to terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and violence against the Iraqi people." He added: "It will allow us to leverage the Internet to enable a mass examination as opposed to limiting it to a few exclusive elites."
In early November 2006, the entire set of documents was removed. Media reports stated that the website was taken offline because of security concerns regarding the posting of sophisticated diagrams and other information regarding nuclear weapon design prior to the 1991 Persian Gulf war.
On December 27, 2009, Hoekstra commented on reports that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who had allegedly tried to set off a suicide bomb on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on December 25, 2009, had subsequently confessed to being trained and equipped in Yemen. Hoekstra called for a halt to the repatriation of Yemeni captives in Guantanamo.
In December 2008, Hoekstra said he would not seek re-election to his U.S. House seat in 2010, and instead campaign to be Michigan's governor. Hoekstra joined Mike Bouchard, the Oakland County Sheriff and former state senator, former Gateway, Inc. president Rick Snyder, State Senator Tom George and Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox as 2010 Republican gubernatorial candidates. In the primary, held on August 3, 2010, Hoekstra finished second to Snyder.
Hoekstra was suggested as a possible challenger for Democratic incumbent Debbie Stabenow in the 2012 Senate election, but he initially declined to run. Hoekstra later changed his mind and decided to challenge Stabenow in the election. On August 29, 2011, Hoekstra was endorsed by Republican Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, and on September 23, 2011, Hoekstra was endorsed by 2012 Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann.
Hoekstra faced Stabenow and four third-party candidates in the general election. On November 6, 2012, Hoekstra was defeated by Stabenow, receiving 38% of the vote.
|Democratic||Debbie Stabenow (incumbent)||2,735,826||58.8%||+1.9|
|Natural Law||John Litle||11,229||0.2%||+0.1|
Hoekstra targeted Democratic incumbent Debbie Stabenow with a television ad which ran statewide during the 2012 Super Bowl. The 30-second ad, created by Republican advertising consultant Fred Davis III, opened with the sound of a gong and the image of a Chinese woman (played by 2012 Miss Napa Valley Lisa Chan) riding a bike alongside a rice paddy. The ad sarcastically accused Stabenow of contributing to the U.S.' spending problem, with the woman thanking "Michigan Senator Debbie Spenditnow", in broken English, implying Stabenow has earned China's gratitude for making the U.S. economy "very weak" while China's "get very good".
The commercial included a link to a Hoekstra campaign website with statistics about federal spending, decorated with images of Chinese flags and currency and using a stereotypical Chinatown font. In the HTML code on Hoekstra's site, the woman in the ad is identified as "yellowgirl". A statement released by the Hoekstra campaign said the HTML code was mistakenly shortened from "yellowshirtgirl".
Asian-American groups called the ad "very disturbing", and two of Hoekstra's GOP opponents, Clark Durant and Gary Glenn, questioned whether Hoekstra was the right candidate for Republicans to support. The ad was criticized by Michael Yaki, former aide to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and U.S. Senator Dan Inouye.James Fallows of The Atlantic called it the "most revolting ad". The NAACP denounced the ad as an "unnecessary race card."
Hoekstra initially stood by the ad, claiming it hit Stabenow "smack dab between the eyes" on the economy. However, on February 10, 2012, Hoekstra shut down his controversial Chinese-themed website and phased in a new TV commercial in place of his original ad. American Values super PAC, an Asian American group, claimed credit for the scrub shortly after the group's launch of an online viral ad condemning Hoekstra.
On February 16, Chan apologized for her involvement in the ad. In a statement on her Facebook page, she said the role was "not in any way representative of who I am" and "absolutely a mistake on my part."
Despite the controversy, Hoekstra won the Republican primary. He lost to Stabenow in the general election.
In February 2011, Hoekstra joined the government relations group and Washington, D.C. law firm Dickstein Shapiro, and was named a visiting distinguished fellow at the conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation, concentrating on education reform. Hoekstra left Dickstein Shapiro in 2014 to join one of its rivals, Greenberg Traurig.
Hoekstra joined Steven Emerson's Investigative Project on Terrorism in 2014 as a Shillman Senior Fellow, specializing in national security, international relations, global terrorism and cyber security.
Hoekstra published his first book in October 2015, Architects of Disaster: The Destruction of Libya with Terri Blumenfeld. An Obama administration spokesman took issue with the book on November 11, 2015 because of Hoekstra's assertion that the removal of Libyan leader Muammar Qadaffi was a serious mistake since he had become an ally of the United States and that his downfall caused Libya to become a terrorist safe haven. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said: "a careful consideration of his long record would probably not conclude Col. Qadaffi was a friend and ally of the United States."
In an interview with NPR's Robert Siegel on December 10, 2014, Hoekstra said he disagreed with the recently released Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture.
CNN's KFile reported that Hoekstra in 2016 accused Huma Abedin of ties with the Muslim Brotherhood. A 2016 Washington Post fact-checker gave that claim "four Pinocchios". CNN also stated that Hoekstra was a frequent guest on a talk show hosted by Frank Gaffney, an anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist based in Washington.
On March 11, 2017, Hoekstra said that Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, and other leakers of government materials, having illegally released classified information, were traitors and should have taken their evidence to the intelligence committees of the U.S. Congress for proper investigations.
On July 24, 2017, President Donald Trump nominated Hoekstra to be United States Ambassador to the Netherlands. He was confirmed by the Senate on November 9 via voice vote and sworn-in by Vice President Mike Pence on December 11, 2017. He took office on January 10, 2018.
Later that December, NOS U.S. correspondent Wouter Zwart questioned Hoekstra about inaccurate claims that he had made in November 2015 at a panel titled "Muslim Migration into Europe: Eurabia come True?" hosted by the David Horowitz Freedom Center that the Netherlands had "no-go zones" and that politicians and cars are being set on fire in the Netherlands due to radical Islam. Hoekstra told Zwart that he had never said such things, saying, "we would call it fake news. I never said that." Zwart then played the clip in which he made those remarks for his viewers. Later in the interview, Hoekstra denied that he denied it, saying "I didn't call it 'fake news'. I didn't use those words today." On December 23, Hoekstra issued an apology on Twitter, writing that he "made certain remarks in 2015 and regret[ted] the exchange during the Nieuwsuur interview".
On January 10, 2018, during his press conference after presenting his credentials to King Willem-Alexander, Hoekstra said that he did not want to revisit the comments made in 2015. Despite repeated questions from Dutch reporters regarding these comments, Hoekstra refused to talk about these statements and refused to answer further questions.
On January 11, 2018, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Steve Goldstein said that in 2015, Hoekstra "made comments that should not have been made", that "the State Department does not agree with those statements" and "that is not the language we would use." He added that the "comments were wrong and don't reflect the U.S. view of the Netherlands". One day later, in an interview with Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, Hoekstra finally retracted his statement about the presence of "no-go zones" in the Netherlands where cars and politicians are being set on fire, saying: "Looking back, I'm dismayed that I said it. It was an incorrect statement. It was just wrong." He further claimed that he couldn't recall how he got to the statement or what it was based on, saying: "I've mixed up countries. I was wrong, and I don't know how that could have happened. I do know: it was wrong."
'They should stay there. They should not go back to Yemen,' Hoekstra said. 'If they go back to Yemen, we will very soon find them back on the battlefield going after Americans and other western interests.'
'Yesterday just highlights the fact that sending this many people back--or any people back--to Yemen right now is a really bad idea,' said Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.), the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee. 'It's just dumb....If you made a list of what the three dumbest countries would be to send people back to, Yemen would be on all the lists.'
Former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Michigan has been named a visiting distinguished fellow at The Heritage Foundation. He will concentrate on education reform for the prominent think tank.
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 2nd congressional district
| Chair of House Intelligence Committee
| Ranking Member of House Intelligence Committee
|Party political offices|
| United States Ambassador to the Netherlands