The White House on Wednesday said that its policy on the Armenian Genocide, or “Meds Yeghern” as it is being called, “remains unchanged.”
“The President has reaffirmed that the Meds Yeghern was a historic atrocity and tragedy for the Armenian people, as well as our commitment to stand with the Armenian people,” a White House official told Asbarez early Wednesday morning.
The clarification of the policy comes two days after the White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany referred to the “Armenian Genocide Memorial” during her daily briefing on Monday when decrying protesters desecrating memorials across the country resulting from the nationwide social justice movement.
“There seems to be a lack of understanding and historical knowledge when the Armenian genocide memorial, remembering victims of all crimes against humanity, including slavery, is vandalized,” McEnany said Monday in an apparent reference to the recent defacing of the Armenian Genocide memorial in Colorado, which is on the grounds of the state’s capitol and was vandalized along with other monuments there during last month’s social justice protests.
“In the wake of bipartisan Congressional recognition of the Armenian Genocide, and in the context of Erdogan’s increasingly open hostility to our U.S. national interests, the Trump Administration is doubling down on the practice of past administrations–Democratic and Republican–by enforcing a foreign gag-rule against honest American remembrance of this crime against all humanity,” said Armenian National Committee of America Executive Director Aram Hamparian.
The Turkish Embassy in Washington on Tuesday claimed that McEnany’s statement was “a slip of the tongue.”
“We believe that the statement by the Press Secretary was an unfortunate slip of the tongue … In any case, these expressions cannot be accepted,” the embassy said in a Twitter post on Tuesday.
In the wake of last year’s near-unanimous recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the House and Senate, President Donald Trump chose to close out his first term in office – isolated and alone – as the last remaining American enforcer of Ankara’s gag-rule against honest U.S. remembrance of this crime, when he failed on April 24 to properly condemn as “genocide” the events of 1915.
“Today, we join the global community in memorializing the lives lost during the Meds Yeghern, one of the worst mass atrocities of the 20th century. Beginning in 1915, 1 and a half million Armenians were deported, massacred, or marched to their deaths in the final years of the Ottoman Empire. On this day of remembrance, we pay respect to those who suffered and lost their lives, while also renewing our commitment to fostering a more humane and peaceful world,” Trump said in his April 24 statement before calling on Armenians and Turks “reckon with their painful history.”