WH Told Graham To Block Armenian Genocide Resolution To Avoid Angering Erdogan
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) blocked a resolution that would officially recognize Turkey’s genocide of the Aremnian people after White House officials requested he do so, according to Axios.
The vote on the measure came during Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to the White House, the news outlet reported, and had the Senate voted the resolution through, Erdogan would have been infuriated.
Graham was also present at the White House meeting with Erdorgan, during which the Republican blasted the Turkish president over his treatment of the Kurds in Syria.
But Graham told Axios that as he was leaving the meeting, “White House legislative affairs official told Graham that Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) was going to bring up his Armenian genocide resolution and asked if Graham could ‘please object.’”
"I said sure," he told the publication. "The only reason I did it is because he [Erdoğan] was still in town. ... That would've been poor timing. I'm trying to salvage the relationship if possible."
Graham said he had no qualms about blocking the resolution because “I like Bob [Mendez.] “He's been working on this for years, but I did think with the president of Turkey in town that was probably more than the market would bear," the lawmaker said, adding, "I'm not going to object next time.”
However, when the resolution was raised the following week, the White House found another Republican lawmaker to block the effort. Senator David Perdue (R-GA), like Graham, an ally of President Donald Trump, objected to the resolution on the grounds that it might interfere with U.S. negotiations in the region.
Perdue’s spokesman 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.”