President Donald Trump has chosen an opponent of LGBT rights to be the ambassador to the Netherlands.
Pete Hoekstra, a former US congressman and a founder of the ultra-conservative Tea Party, seems an unusual choice to be the ambassador of a country which has always been in the forefront of LGBT rights and was the first country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage.
Hoekstra, who was born in the Netherlands, has campaigned against same-sex marriage, and also voted against a woman’s right to abortion. He also supports the death penalty.
Commenting on his nomination, Dutch newspaper De Volksrant said that President Trump had “put a Dutchman in the Netherlands – but it is a Dutchman from the Netherlands of the 50s.”
Speaking of the appointment, Dutch liberal MEP Sophie in ‘t Veld said: “We are looking forward with interest to co-operating with Mr Hoekstra. We will certainly remind him his roots lie in a country that values tolerance, equality and inclusion.
“We are proud of being the first country worldwide to have legislated for same-sex marriage. We are proud to have the lowest abortion rates in the world, and it is safe and legal.
“We are proud in our country that people of immigrant origin can be mayor of a big city or speaker of a parliament. We expect the representative of our friend and ally the United States to fully and wholly respect our values and to show that respect in his all his acts and words.”
Hoekstra’s appointment will need to be approved by both the US Senate and The Hague but this is widely considered to be merely a formality.