The Trump administration reportedly has once again urged a member of the U.S. Senate to speak out against a resolution that would officially recognize the Armenian genocide, per a report Thursday from Axios.
Sen. Kevin Cramer, a North Dakota Republican, reportedly spoke out against the resolution on the Senate floor, telling his Senate colleagues that it wasn’t the right time to put forth such a resolution, citing the president’s recent meeting with Turkish President Recep Erdoğan at a NATO summit in London. Cramer told his colleagues that passing such a resolution could put diplomatic relations between the United States and Turkey at risk, Axios reported.
Per Axios, Cramers’ objecting to the resolution was particularly noteworthy because he had previously signed on to a similar resolution to acknowledge the genocide last Congress. In September 2017, the North Dakota legislator tweeted a photo that showed him alongside actor Dean Cain, thanking him for visiting Congress to speak about the Armenian genocide.
Cramer said Thursday that he did not plan to continue to object to the resolution, Axios wrote. The resolution had previously been, surprisingly, blocked by South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham in another White House-directed attempt to salvage the relationship between Turkey and the United States. Graham’s opposition last month came after a tense White House meeting between Erdoğan and himself in which he reportedly scolded the Turkish leader for his actions in invading Syria and against the Kurdish population.
At the time, Graham said he would not oppose the resolution in the future, Axios said.
The following week, the White House reportedly asked another Senate Republican, Sen. David Purdue of Georgia, to block the resolution, who similarly said he couldn’t support the action before Congress and instead wanted to preserve the relationship between Turkey and the U.S.
As Axios reported, Cramer’s objection at the request of the White House came following Trump’s heated exchange with French President Emmanuel Macron over Turkey’s involvement in NATO. There have been bipartisan calls from the Senate — Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland and Republican Sen. Graham — to impose sanctions on Turkey over its involvement in Syria. The president at the NATO summit said he had a “very good” relationship with the Turkish president and wouldn’t say whether the White House would support the bipartisan requests for sanctions.
According to History, the Armenian genocide involved the killing of the Armenian people by the Ottoman Empire, which would later become Turkey, in the early 20th century. The plan reportedly began during World War I in 1915 and ended in the early 1920s. Anywhere between 600,000 and 1.5 million Armenians had been killed and many more had been forced out of the country. The Turkish government has still not acknowledged the scope of the genocide.