Senator Lindsey Graham blocked a congressional resolution Wednesday that would have recognized the Armenian genocide by Ottoman Turks hours after he and President Trump met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Fox News reported.
Graham objected to passing H.Res.296, according to The Hill, saying senators shouldn’t “sugarcoat history or try to rewrite it.” Graham’s office did not comment on the matter in response to a Fox News request.
Senator Bob Menendez asked for consent to pass the resolution, which would have formally recognized the killing of more than a million Armenians between 1915 and 1923.
“The United States foreign policy must reflect an honest accounting of human rights abuses, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and genocide. We cannot turn our backs on the Armenian victims of genocide,” he said, according to the politics website.
The resolution overwhelmingly passed in a 405- 11 House vote last month, with Rep. Ilhan Omar saying it was just as important for the U.S. to recognize its role in the deaths of millions of indigenous people and the slave trade, Fox News added.
Turkey has long disputed the term “genocide,” calling the death toll inflated and considering those killed victims of war. Similar resolutions have been introduced in recent presidential administrations but none ever reached the floor.
Opponents argue recognizing the Armenian genocide could anger Turkey, a crucial ally relied on by the U.S. to ensure stability in the region. Graham’s actions came hours after he met with Trump and Erdogan, who arrived in the U.S. on Tuesday ahead of the face-to-meeting with the president.