WASHINGTON—One hundred and two U.S. Representatives – including the Chairmen of the House Foreign Affairs and Intelligence Committees—have called on President Donald Trump to reject Turkey’s gag-rule by honestly and accurately commemorating the Armenian Genocide this April 24, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
“It’s time to end America’s ‘Turkey First’ approach to the Armenian Genocide,” said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the ANCA. “Erdogan’s traditional apologists have abandoned him—and rightfully so. Devoid of allies across the American political landscape—from left to right, hawk to dove—he’s turning to the White House as his last line of defense against the truth. The choice rests with President Trump, to put America first or to enforce a foreign gag rule.”
The letter to President Trump, led by Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), David Trott (R-Mich.), Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) and David Valadao (R-Calif.) as well as Vice-Chairs Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.) explained that: “The Armenian Genocide continues to stand as an important reminder that crimes against humanity must not go without recognition and condemnation. Through recognition of the Armenian Genocide, we pay tribute to the perseverance and determination of those who survived, as well as to the Americans of Armenian descent who continue to strengthen our country to this day. It is our duty to honor those contributions with an honest statement of history recognizing the massacre of 1.5 million Armenians as the 20th century’s first genocide. By commemorating the Armenian Genocide, we renew our commitment to prevent future atrocities.” They closed by asking that the President: “Appropriately mark April 24th as a day of American remembrance of the Armenian Genocide.”
Joining the Congressional Armenian Caucus leadership in co-signing the letter were: Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.), Chairman of the Democratic Caucus; Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.), Vice-Chair of the Democratic Caucus; Edward Royce (R-Calif.), Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee; Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), Chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence; Eliot Engel (D-NY), Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee; Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), Ranking Member of the Appropriations Committee; Richard Neal (D-Mass.), Ranking Member of the Ways & Means Committee; James McGovern (D-Mass.), Ranking Member of the Rules Committee; John Yarmuth (D-Ky.), Ranking Member of the Budget Committee; Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee; Timothy Walz (D-Minn.), Ranking Member of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee; Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Ranking Member of the Natural Resources Committee; Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), Ranking Member of the Ethics Committee; Robert Brady (D-Pa.), Ranking Member of the House Administration Committee; Christopher Smith (R-N.J.), Co-Chair of the Helsinki Commission; and Representatives: Karen Bass (D-Calif.), Don Beyer (D-Va.), Dave Brat (R-Va.), Ken Buck (R-Colo.), Ken Calvert (R-Calif.), Michael Capuano (D-Mass.), Salud Carbajal (D-Calif.), Tony Cardenas (D-Calif.), Judy Chu (D-Calif.), David Cicilline (D-R.I.), Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), William Clay (D-Mo.), Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), Lou Correa (D-Calif.), Jim Costa (D-Calif.), Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), Charlie Crist (D-Fla.), Danny Davis (D-Ill.), Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.), John Faso (R-NY), Jeff Fortenberry (R-Nebr.), Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), John Garamendi (D-Calif.), Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.), Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.), Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), Glenn Grothman (R-Wisc.), Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii), Bill Johnson (R-Ohio), Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.), Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), Ruben Kihuen (D-Nev.), Steve King (R-Iowa), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), James Langevin (D-R.I.), Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Sander Levin (D-Mich.), Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), Daniel Lipinski (D-Il.), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.), Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), Doris Matsui (D-Calif.), Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.), Rick Nolan (D-Minn.), Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.), Edwin Perlmutter (D-Colo.), Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), Ted Poe (R-Tex.), Jared Polis (D-Colo.), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Kathleen Rice (D-NY), Todd Rokita (R-IN), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Peter Roskam (R-Ill.), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), John Sarbanes (D-Md.), Janice Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Brad Schneider (D-Ill.), Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), Albio Sires (D-N.J.), Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.), Mark Takano (D-Calif.), Dina Titus (D-Nev.), Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), Norma Torres (D-Calif.), and Niki Tsongas (D-Mass.).
The ANCA launched a nationwide online letter writing and calling campaign urging Members of Congress to co-sign the Armenian Caucus letter to President Trump. A similar letter sent last year had over 80 Congressional signatories.
The full text of the letter to President Trump is below.
Text of Congressional Letter to President Trump
Dear President Trump:
We are writing to urge you to properly commemorate the 103rd Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide on April 24th.
In leading an honest and accurate American remembrance of this known case of genocide, you will stand with President Reagan, who recognized the Armenian Genocide in 1981, and the Eisenhower Administration, which did the same in a 1951 submission to the International Court of Justice. The House of Representatives has also commemorated the Armenian Genocide, through H.J.Res.148 in 1975 and H.J.Res.247 in 1984.
Armenia remains deeply committed to expanding the bonds of friendship that have long connected the American and Armenian peoples. Among the proudest chapters in our shared history is America’s remarkable record of protesting the Genocide and in caring for the survivors of this crime. The United States Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire in 1915, Henry Morgenthau, helped to chronicle the brutal extermination of the Armenian people through a campaign of mass murder and violent expulsion.
In the years after the genocide, Ambassador Morgenthau and other concerned Americans launched the Near East Relief, a congressionally chartered humanitarian organization, which raised $116 million (over $2.7 billion in 2018 dollars) to aid the victims of the Ottoman Empire’s mass murder of millions of Armenians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Greeks, Syriacs, and other persecuted peoples. The generosity of the American people saved countless lives and helped to ensure the continued survival of the Armenian culture.
The Armenian Genocide continues to stand as an important reminder that crimes against humanity must not go without recognition and condemnation. Through recognition of the Armenian Genocide we pay tribute to the perseverance and determination of those who survived, as well as to the Americans of Armenian descent who continue to strengthen our country to this day. It is our duty to honor those contributions with an honest statement of history recognizing the massacre of 1.5 million Armenians as the 20th century’s first genocide. By commemorating the Armenian Genocide, we renew our commitment to prevent future atrocities.
In the spirit of honoring the victims and redoubling our commitment to prevent genocide, we ask you to appropriately mark April 24th as a day of American remembrance of the Armenian Genocide.
Thank you for taking our views into consideration.