Donald Trump has once again intervened in the US Senate’s attempts to pass a bipartisan resolution recognising the Armenian genocide by directing a third Republican senator to block the motion.
Kevin Cramer, a North Dakota Republican, was asked by the White House to block the resolution on Thursday, the senator said, just after the US president met with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, at the Nato summit in London.
In an interview with CNN, Mr Cramer said he had no plans to block the resolution again and predicted it would eventually pass.
“I don’t know that it can be objected to much longer”, he said.
However, the senator ultimately agreed to the White House’s request, citing the timing of the vote — which came on the heels of Mr Trump’s meeting with the Turkish president.
Mr Erdogan would likely have been infuriated with Congress’ decision to formally recognise Turkey’s genocide of the Armenian people.
Mr Cramer suggested it could have derailed Mr Trump’s diplomatic efforts surrounding Turkey at a time when the region has been thrown into a tumult following the US president’s decision to withdraw troops from northeastern Syria.
It was not “the right time” for the vote to take place, Mr Cramer said on the floor of the Senate.
Last month, the White House requested Lindsey Graham block the resolution recognising the Armenian genocide as the Turkish president was visiting Washington as part of an official state visit.
Mr Graham blocked the resolution despite reportedly speaking out against Turkey’s invasion of northeastern Syria during a contentious Oval Office meeting at the time.
“I let Turkey know that 10,000 SDF fighters, mostly Kurds, suffered, died or [were] injured, in the fight against Isis, and America will not forget that and will not abandon them”, the South Carolina Republican told Axios at the time.
Mr Graham also warned he would not “object the next time” he was asked by the White House, adding: “The only reason I did it is because he [Mr Erdogan] was still in town.
“That would’ve been poor timing. I’m trying to salvage the relationship if possible.”
When a similar resolution went up for a vote a week later, the White House urged another Republican, David Perdue, to block the motion.
The Georgia Republican followed suit, with a spokesperson telling Axios: “Senator Perdue objected due to concerns that passage of the resolution would jeopardise the sensitive negotiations going on in the region with Turkey and other allies.”