DeSantis and Haley join Ramaswamy in calling out Azerbaijan for ethnic cleansing of Artsakh’s Christian Armenians

Candidates Condemn Azerbaijan’s Anti-Christian Persecution at The FAMiLY Leader Thanksgiving Candidate Forum in Iowa

Republican presidential candidates Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley, and Vivek Ramaswamy called out Azerbaijan’s ethnic cleansing of Artsakh’s Armenian Christians in response to questions by The FAMiLY Leader CEO Bob Vander Plaats.

DES MOINES, Iowa—Republican presidential candidates Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley joined with Vivek Ramaswamy in forcefully condemning Azerbaijan’s ethnic cleansing of Artsakh’s 120,000 indigenous Christian Armenians at The FAMiLY Leader Thanksgiving candidate forum in Iowa, a high profile program co-sponsored by the 120,000 Reasons Coalition.

Their statements were made during a table-side talk led by The FAMiLY Leader President and CEO Bob Vander Plaats. Noting that Armenia is the first Christian nation and citing Azerbaijan’s ethnic cleansing of 120,000 Armenian Christians, Vander Plaats asked the three candidates, “How would you ensure that this bastion of ancient Christianity is safeguarded?”

In his response, Gov. DeSantis noted, “I think the United States should be standing for the Christians in Armenia. I think that is a noble cause.”

Amb. Nikki Haley underscored in her response, “What happened in Azerbaijan is a travesty… we should be calling out Azerbaijan.”

Vivek Ramaswamy, offered the most detailed response, stating, “120,000 Armenians, the oldest Christian nation of the world, displaced. And, the even dirtier secret at the heart of that – we’re [the U.S. government] paying for it.” Ramaswamy criticized the Biden administration for waiving Section 907 restrictions, arming and abetting Azerbaijan’s ethnic cleansing of Armenians.

Ramaswamy has been outspoken in spotlighting Azerbaijan’s forced displacement of Artsakh’s Armenians on the campaign trail, discussing the matter with Tucker Carlson and Piers Morgan, and attending a 120,000 Reasons protest organized by the ANCA Eastern Region and AYF Eastern Region on the eve of the GOP presidential candidates’ debate in Miami, Florida. He recently attended an Armenian reception at Armenian Estates in Genoa Township, OH, hosted by Tigran and Viola Safaryan and Steve and Erna Atikian. Longtime ANC-Ohio leader David Krikorian introduced Ramaswamy at the event, which was attended by Armenian Americans from across the Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland areas.

Vander Plaats and The FAMiLY Leader are part of the 120,000 Reasons coalition, which has been working on the ground in Iowa and across the U.S. to exert pressure on the White House, Congress and the 2024 presidential candidates to break the silence on the second Armenian genocide committed in Artsakh and to support the sovereignty and security of Armenia.

Watch the complete exchange between Vander Plaats, DeSantis, Haley and Ramaswamy during The FAMiLY Leader Thanksgiving presidential candidate forum on the ANCA YouTube channel.

The full response to Bob Vander Plaats’ question on Armenia and Artsakh at the Thanksgiving FAMilY Leader candidate forum is available at:

Highlights of responses by Gov. DeSantis, Amb. Haley, and Ramaswamy are available at the links below:

The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) is the largest and most influential Armenian-American grassroots organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters and supporters throughout the United States and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCA actively advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.

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