Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte faced criticism on Sunday after making comments about what he called “white wine sipping elites in Amsterdam” who are not giving US President Donald Trump a fair chance.
Rutte made the comments during an appearance on Buitenhof, a weekly TV show focused on Dutch politics that aired on Sunday.
“In this world international structures are absolutely necessary, but sometimes it pi**es me off when I hear white wine sipping elites in Amsterdam saying ‘well, Trump, he is so wrong’,” Rutte said.
“Why don’t we make use of his presence, because he brings to attention the parts that aren’t great about multilateralism, even though I am a supporter of that because the Netherlands are dependant on that same multilateralism,” he added.
Shortly before those comments, Rutte also mentioned the “elites in Amsterdam” in relation to climate goals.
“We are going to achieve the goals we’ve set. Not because we like it so much or because the elites in Amsterdam demand it, but because we do not want to hand over this mess to the next generation,” Rutte said.
The local government in Amsterdam is in the hands of GroenLinks, the Dutch Green Party which has repeatedly criticised Trump’s comments and said the national Dutch government currently is not doing enough to tackle climate change.
Following his comments, Rutte received heavy criticism on Twitter.
Amsterdam council member Zeeger Ernsting tweeted a picture of Rutte with Russian President Vladimir Putting, both of them with a glass of white wine in their hands.
— Zeeger Ernsting (@zeeger) January 13, 2019
Another user posted a picture of Rutte with Dutch journalist and TV host Jort Kelder while drinking white wine on a boat.
Witte wijn sippende Amsterdamse elite. pic.twitter.com/jhTZ3Dr3c2
— Thijs Kleinpaste (@KleinpasteThijs) January 13, 2019
It is the second time this week Rutte has been criticised for comments he has made.
On Friday, when discusing people who attack first responders, Rutte said he would “love to beat them up himself, but that simply was not possible”.
Other party leaders called Rutte out on those comments, with the leader of the Christian democratic party Sybrand Buma saying a “prime minister should not suggest that people should handle things themselves”.
GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver said that “the security of our first responders deserves more than empty words”, and Gert-Jan Segers, leader of the Christian ChristenUnie party, called Rutte’s comments “not exactly prime minister-worthy”.
Police union ACP also criticised Rutte’s words according to local media.
“These types of statements do not help, because the problem doesn’t get any smaller,” ACP head Gerrit van de Kamp said.
Several critics also noticed that Rutte often makes controversial statements shortly before elections, as is the case now, with European elections happening in May.
Rutte has been prime minister of the Netherlands since 2010. In 2017, his VVD party was the biggest party in national elections, leading to him forming a coalition government with the Christian conservative party ChristenUnie, the christian-democratic CDA and liberal-democratic D66.