Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Bob Menendez, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Thursday welcomed reports that President Joe Biden has signaled that he will recognize the Armenian Genocide in a statement on Saturday, April 24.
“It has come to my attention that President Biden intends to have the United States formally recognize the Armenian genocide, becoming the first sitting U.S. President to do so. Great news,” said Schumer in remarks on the Senate floor on Thursday.
“It’s a long time coming and a step that I have called on presidents of both parties to take. Each year, I gather with Armenian Americans in Times Square to commemorate the annual anniversary of this atrocity. And every year my heart breaks for the victims of the genocide and their descendants. There are very few left but some are very elderly people that are sitting in the audience each year, reminding us how painful and how real that genocide was. The Turkish government’s idea of saying that there was no genocide just defies history. I’ve seen the victims. I’ve talked to the victims,” added Schumer.
“Saturday marks the 106th anniversary of the Armenian genocide. And I am so relieved, gratified, and moved that we can finally commemorate the anniversary with the knowledge that the government of the United States, led by President Joseph Robinette Biden, will have recognized the truth of the Armenian genocide at last,” concluded Schumer.
Menendez has long been a passionate champion for the Armenian-American community in the United States, leading the push for a formal Senate Resolution to recognize the Armenian Genocide in every session of Congress since 2006, as well as co-authoring in years past during his time in the House of Representatives. In November 2019, Senator Menendez took to the Senate Floor every week to try to adopt the Resolution. After being blocked every time by a Senate Republican, the New Jersey Democrat vowed to keep returning every week until Armenian Genocide denialism was defeated. On December 12, 2019, the Senate unanimously passed Menendez’s Senate Resolution affirming the historical facts of the Armenian Genocide
“I’m honored and incredibly moved to be able to commemorate this year’s anniversary of the Armenian Genocide by applauding the President’s reported decision to end over a century of official erasure of one of the darkest events in human history. Today we keep faith with all those who stand up to injustice anywhere and everywhere in the world. We honor those who lost their lives in this genocide, remember how they died and rejoice in knowing we’ve changed the way history will remember their deaths. After three decades of leading this fight in Congress, I am proud the U.S. government is poised to finally be able to say it without any euphemism: genocide is genocide. Plain and simple,” said Menendez in a statement issued on Thursday,
“As we prepare to observe the 106th anniversary of the Ottoman Empire’s systematic drive to eliminate the Armenian people, I am deeply grateful for and inspired by the Armenian American community’s persistence in ensuring the Armenian genocide is recognized as an irrefutable fact of history – accepted by the United States and the rest of the world. I want to personally thank President Biden for honestly facing history and heeding our calls to recognize the genocide’s factual reality; something that should have never been denied, diminished, or mischaracterized by any U.S. administration. Having the full U.S. government affirm the facts of the Armenian Genocide will send a strong signal that the truth and human rights, not ignorance and denial, shape our foreign policy,” added Menendez.
“I join the Armenian community in New Jersey, across the United States, and around the world in honoring the 1.5 million innocent men, women, and children who were killed, starved and forcefully deported from their homeland by the Ottoman Empire 106 years ago. Only by acknowledging and understanding history’s darkest hours can we truly learn from them and use them to build a peaceful future,” concluded Menendez.
Last month, Menendez led 37 of his Senate colleagues in requesting the Biden administration join the U.S. Congress in officially recognizing the Ottoman Empire’s genocide against the Armenian people.