Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Wednesday blocked a resolution in the Senate condemning the Armenian genocide. The move came just hours after Graham, President Donald Trump, and other senators met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, The Hill reported.
The resolution passed overwhelmingly in the House, although some controversially remained neutral or voted against it — perhaps most notably, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), who was heavily criticized for not supporting it. Erdogan has been critical of the resolution.
"I just met with President Erdogan and President Trump about the problems we face in Syria by the military incursion by Turkey. I do hope that Turkey and Armenia can come together and deal with this problem," Graham said.
Graham said his opposition to the resolution was about the future, not the past, and also that he has no intention of "sugarcoating" history.
Graham reportedly pushed against Erdogan during the Wednesday meeting, which also included GOP Sens. Joni Ernst (Iowa), Rick Scott (Fla.), Ted Cruz (Texas), and Jim Risch (Idaho). From Fox News:
While in Washington, Erdogan met with President Trump and several Republican senators at the White House. Fox News is told there were "a lot of people with a lot of gripes" during the meeting. At one point, according to aides, Graham "called Erdogan out on his B.S. that Turkey has been fighting ISIS." While all the senators expressed their issues with Erdogan, Graham was said to be "on the more aggressive side."
According to sources, Graham told Erdogan, "You have done something no one thought was possible. You have united the US … against [Turkey]."
Omar, when she refused to vote for the Armenian genocide resolution, cited a reluctance to use a resolution as a form of political retaliation against Turkey. Her stance led to revelations shortly after that she had taken donations from the Turkish American Steering Committee, a lobbying group tied to Erdogan.