Defying the overwhelming votes in both the United States House of Representatives and the Senate, the Trump administration doubled down on its original statement that it does not consider the mass killings of Armenians, Greeks and other Christian minorities in the early 1900s to be a “genocide.”
“The position of the administration has not changed,” said State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus in a statement. “Our views are reflected in the president’s definitive statement on this issue from last April.”
In a statement last April on the anniversary of the killings, Mr. Trump said the US paid tribute to the victims of “one of the worst mass atrocities of the 20th century,” but he did not use the word “genocide.” Instead he encouraged Armenians and Turks to “acknowledge and reckon with their painful history.”
Although this was the first time in history that the events were acknowledged as “genocide” in both houses of the US Congress, it is important to note that President Trump is not alone in presidential denial.
No other U.S. president has ever acknowledged the mass killings as “genocide.” Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, made campaign promises to officially recognize the events as a genocide, but never followed through with formal acknowledgement.
The U.S. Senate vote angered Turkey, which has always denied that the killings amounted to a genocide and has spent tens of millions of dollars in lobbying money, as well as false research at American universities in an attempt to re-write history.
Turkey’s foreign ministry summoned the U.S. ambassador to express its anger over the vote, accusing the US of “politicizing history.”
President Trump gave a warm welcome to Turkish President Erdogan in Washington DC last month.
During a meeting in Washington, Trump said he was a “big fan” of Mr Erdogan, ignoring widespread criticism over the Turkish president’s poor human rights record and invasion of Syria and attacks on U.S. allied Kurds in the region.
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