Caption: Sen. Kevin Cramer (D-N.D.) with actor and supporter of the recognition of the Armenian Genocide Dean Cain

North Dakota Senator Blocks Armenian Genocide Bill at Request of White House

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WASHINGTON (Axios) —The White House directed Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) to block an effort by Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Thursday, December 5, to pass a resolution via unanimous consent formally recognizing Turkey’s genocide of the Armenian people, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

This is the third time that the White House has directed a Republican senator to block the resolution, a symbolic measure already passed by the House that would infuriate Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Cramer said on the Senate floor that he doesn’t think this is “the right time” to pass the resolution, noting that President Trump has just returned from meeting with Erdogan at the NATO summit in London, and that the resolution could undermine the administration’s diplomatic efforts.

Cramer’s objection is especially noteworthy given that he was a co-sponsor of a similar resolution during the last Congress.

Cramer tweeted a picture in September 2017 thanking actor Dean Cain for visiting Capitol Hill to “raise awareness on the Armenian genocide.”

“Once a Superman, always a Superman. Thank you @RealDeanCain for coming in yesterday to raise awareness on the Armenian genocide,” he wrote under the picture of himself with Cain.

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As Axios has previously reported, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) was asked to block the resolution on November 13 after meeting with Erdogan at the White House.

Graham told Axios at the time that he was trying to “salvage the relationship” between the U.S. and Turkey, which has been under considerable strain in the wake of Turkey’s military invasion of northern Syria.

He added: “I’m not going to object next time.”

The following week, the White House asked Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) to block the resolution.

A Perdue spokesperson told Axios: “Senator Perdue objected due to concerns that passage of the resolution would jeopardize the sensitive negotiations going on in the region with Turkey and other allies.”

Trump clashed with France’s Emmanuel Macron at a NATO summit in London this week over Turkey’s role in the military alliance. Macron criticized Turkey for its assault on U.S.- and French-allied Kurdish forces in northern Syria, as well as its purchase of a Russian S-400 missile system over the objections of its NATO allies.

Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) both called on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to sanction Turkey over the S-400 purchase.

Trump said at the NATO summit that he has a “very good relationship” with Erdogan, dodging a question over whether he’d approve the sanctions.

Sen. Cramer’s office and the White House did not provide a comment.

In related news, for the third time, Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) issued a bipartisan call for Unanimous Consent for Senate Adoption of S.Res.150 – the Armenian Genocide Resolution.

The passage of a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide in the US Senate is “very likely” in the coming weeks, Cruz told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“We are likely to finally acknowledge the horrific Armenian Genocide, which I have been fighting for years to do,” the senator said.

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