On its fourth try, the Senate has approved a resolution that recognizes the mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks a century ago as genocide.
The resolution had been blocked three times at the request of the White House, but won unanimous approval Thursday.
Co-sponsored by Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, the nonbinding resolution affirms that the genocide occurred and that Turkey is responsible.
I say to my friends and colleagues that genocide is genocide,” Menendez said on the Senate floor. “Senators in this body should have the simple courage to say it plainly, say it clearly, and say it without reservation.”
Menendez and Cruz had tried three times to bring up the resolution using a procedural maneuver that would allow approval on a voice vote, a way to avoid lengthy floor debate. Each time, a Republican senator objected, citing disapproval of the motion by the White House.
North Dakota Sen. Kevin Cramer, who objected to the measure last week, said he agreed to the White House request because the vote would have occurred around the time of a NATO summit where President Trump and other leaders gathered in London. Turkey is a NATO member.