Trump administration tersely declines to recognize Armenian genocide despite unanimous Senate resolution

Kathryn Krawczyk

The Trump administration would like to quickly reject Congress' latest unanimous decision.

Last week, the entire Senate voted to recognize the 1915 Armenian genocide, furthering a near-unanimous vote of approval by the House in October. But after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan seemed to threaten to bring up one of America's own atrocities in retaliation, the State Department declined to take up Congress' measure.

Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) had cosponsored the legislation, which recognized that "from 1915 to 1923, the Ottoman Empire carried out a force deportation of nearly 2 million Armenians, of whom 1.5 million were killed," Cruz said. The legislation had previously faced opposition from Republican senators who worried it would damage the U.S. relationship with Turkey, the present-day location of the Ottoman Empire. That became more likely when, speaking on a pro-government news channel Monday, Erdogan hinted he might officially recognize the genocide of Native Americans committed by European settlers. "Can we speak about America without mentioning [Native Americans]? It is a shameful moment in U.S. history," Erdogan said.

On Tuesday, the Trump administration gave its unsurprising answer to Congress' resounding call. In a brief statement, a State Department spokesperson said "the position of the administration has not changed," and referred back to Trump's April statement which described "one of the worst mass atrocities of the 20th century" but did not use the word "genocide" — the exact same statement Trump gave two years earlier.

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