November 25, 2019 - 10:35 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Republican Senator Lindsey Graham blocked a resolution that would recognize the Armenian Genocide at the request of a senior White House official, Axios reports.
Many were perplexed and outraged when Graham hurried back to the Senate floor and blocked the resolution.
Graham had just scolded Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan over his invasion of Syria and attacks on the Kurds, according to sources in the room.
As Graham was leaving the Oval Office, senior White House staff reportedly asked him to return to the Senate and block the Armenian Genocide resolution — a measure that would have infuriated Erdoğan.
Graham himself has already confirmed the information.
"After the meeting, we kind of huddled up and talked about what happened," he said. A 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," Graham said. "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."
Asked whether he felt uncomfortable blocking the Armenian genocide resolution, Graham replied: "Yeah. Because I like Bob [Menendez]. 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."
"I'm not going to object next time," Graham added.
The "next time" happened last week. Menendez and his Republican Senate colleague Ted Cruz introduced the Armenian genocide resolution again. This time, the White House asked another Republican Senate ally, David Perdue, to block it.
"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," said a Perdue spokesperson.