WASHINGTON — On Monday, May 6, a bipartisan group of legislators sent a letter to President Donald Trump expressing their disappointment in his April 24th statement, and asked him to directly affirm the Armenian Genocide, reported the Armenian Assembly of America.
Shepherded by Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues Co-Chair Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), the letter is signed by 28 Members of Congress, including the Caucus leadership: Representatives Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Peter King (R-NY) and Adam Schiff (D-CA).
“The Armenian Assembly applauds Congresswoman Jackie Speier for spearheading this initiative and the bipartisan support from the Armenian Caucus Members,” stated Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny. “We appreciate the continued efforts to unequivocally affirm the Armenian Genocide, especially given the alarming statement by Turkey’s authoritarian leader that the relocation of Armenians in 1915 was ‘reasonable.’ The mass deportation of an entire race is never reasonable – not 104 years ago and not today,” he added.
“We want to express our disappointment that your statement did not directly acknowledge the Armenian Genocide as President Ronald Reagan did during his presidency. However, there is no wrong day to recognize the Armenian Genocide. We hope you will consider future opportunities to pay fitting tribute to the memory of those targeted for their faith, those who perished and those who survived, as well as to the brave men and women in our military, who continue to proudly serve our country and defend our most cherished ideals and freedoms,” the letter to President Trump read.
The letter also references the heroic efforts of Major General James G. Harbord, General John J. Pershing’s Chief of Staff during World War I, who, at the direction of President Woodrow Wilson, led an American Military Mission to Armenia in 1919. Major General Harbord and the United States Military in Armenia is highlighted in the Armenian National Institute’s (ANI) new exhibit, available online.
As with previous administrations, this year’s statement reflected a dictionary definition of genocide and used an Armenian expression, Medz Yeghern, which the Armenian Assembly described as a missed opportunity to end genocide denial, especially in light of Turkey’s outrageous attempts to justify the genocide.