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ANCA Presidential Candidate Overview - 2020



As President, Donald Trump led an Administration that took actions against a broad range of Armenian American policy priorities:

— With regard to the “Escalation of Violence between Armenia and Azerbaijan”, the Trump/Pence State Department made the following statement:

“The United States is alarmed by reports of large scale military action along the Line of Contact in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone that has resulted in significant casualties, including civilians.  We extend our condolences to the families of those killed and injured.

The United States condemns in the strongest terms this escalation of violence.  Deputy Secretary Biegun called the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan, Jeyhun Bayramov, and the Foreign Minister of Armenia, Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, to urge both sides to cease hostilities immediately, to use the existing direct communication links between them to avoid further escalation, and to avoid unhelpful rhetoric and actions that further raise tensions on the ground.

The United States believes participation in the escalating violence by external parties would be deeply unhelpful and only exacerbate regional tensions.  We urge the sides to work with the Minsk Group Co-Chairs to return to substantive negotiations as soon as possible.  As a Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, the United States remains committed to helping the sides achieve a peaceful and sustainable settlement to the conflict.”

— The Trump/Pence Administration failed to properly commemorate the Armenian Genocide in all four of its annual April 24th messages, choosing instead to post euphemistic commemorations heavily drawing upon text from past presidential April 24th statements.

— The Trump/Pence Administration did not take a public stand on the Armenian Genocide Resolution, H.Res.296, which was adopted by the U.S. House, but did enlist Senators Lindsay Graham (R-SC), David Perdue (R-GA), and Kevin Cramer (R-ND) in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to block the same bipartisan resolution, S.Res.150, in the U.S. Senate.

— The Trump/Pence Administration aggressively attacked the U.S. aid program to Artsakh – despite public commitments of support by its own USAID Administrator and broad, bipartisan Congressional support – cutting off all U.S. funding for the HALO Trust’s de-mining and mine-safety education programs

— The Trump/Pence Administration, breaking with years of precedent, failed to maintain the tradition of parity in U.S. military aid to Armenia and Azerbaijan, boosting the Pentagon’s military aid package for Azerbaijan to over $100 million.

— The Trump/Pence Administration has publicly embraced Turkish President Recep Erdogan, with President Trump holding up the Turkish leader as a personal “friend” and American ally, even as the Turkish government has turned its back on the United States and NATO.

— The Trump Administration – despite broad, bipartisan condemnation of the May, 2017 attack by Turkish President Recep Erdogan’s bodyguards against peaceful U.S. protesters in Washington, DC – failed to criticize this assault and refused to pursue charges against Turkish nationals charged for this assault.

— — The Trump/Pence Administration has opposed Armenia’s humanitarian deployment of medical personnel and de-miners to Aleppo, Syria, where they are saving the lives of Armenians and other Syrian civilians.

— The Trump/Pence Administration waived the Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act on four occasions, limiting enforcement of this 1992 law restricting U.S. assistance to Azerbaijan due to its blockades of Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh (Artsakh).

— The Trump/Pence Press Secretary cited an Armenian Genocide monument during official remarks regarding an unrelated matter, informing Asbarez News soon afterward that the White House policy on this subject “remained unchanged.”

— The Trump/Pence Administration’s first National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, failed to register as a foreign agent for Turkey (a contract that paid him hundreds of thousands of dollars) and published a pro-Erdogan op/ed on Election Day in 2016.

— The Trump/Pence Administration’s budget requests have called for reductions in aid to Armenia.

— The Trump/Pence Administration upgraded the U.S.-Armenia bilateral relationship to the level of a Strategic Dialogue.

CANDIDATE: As a 2016 candidate, Donald Trump never spoke about Armenian American issues.



As a 2020 Presidential candidate, Joe Biden issued the following statement on “Hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh”

“I am deeply concerned by the outbreak of hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh and call for urgent de-escalation, restoring the ceasefire, and a resumption of negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The United States should be pushing for more observers along the ceasefire line and calling for Russia to stop cynically providing arms to both sides, while reviewing our own security assistance programs to ensure no military capabilities are being repurposed for offensive means.

The Trump administration also needs to step up its diplomatic efforts, together with fellow OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs France and Russia, to seek a peaceful resolution and to support confidence-building measures. The eruption of hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh runs the risk of escalating into a larger regional conflict, which is why third parties in the region must stay out of this conflict and the Minsk Group mediators must immediately seek de-escalation and a return to negotiations.”

Joe Biden also tweeted: “With casualties rapidly mounting in and around Nagorno-Karabakh, the Trump Administration needs to call the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan immediately to de-escalate the situation. It must also demand others — like Turkey — stay out of this conflict.

As a 2020 Presidential candidate, Joe Biden has spoken in support of  U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide:

— On April 24, 2020, Joe Biden issued a statement asserting, in part: “During my years in the Senate, I was proud to lead efforts to recognize the genocide against the Armenian people. Last year, I was pleased to endorse bipartisan legislation in the House and Senate that officially recognized and established an ongoing U.S. commemoration of the Armenian Genocide. If elected, I pledge to support a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide…”

— On September, 16, 2019, Joe Biden, in a letter to the ANCA, stated that: “The United States must reaffirm, once and for all, our record on the Armenian Genocide. We must never forget or remain silent about this horrific and systematic campaign of extermination that resulted in the deaths of 1.5 million Armenian men, women, and children and the mass deportation of 2 million Armenians from their homes. If we do not fully acknowledge, commemorate, and teach our children about genocide, the words ‘never again’ lose their meaning. The facts must be as clear and as powerful for future generations as for those whose memories are seared by tragedy. Failing to remember or acknowledge the fact of a genocide only paves the way for future mass atrocities.”

VICE PRESIDENT: As Vice President, Joe Biden was part of an Administration that took actions against a broad range of Armenian American policy priorities:

— The Obama/Biden Administration broke its explicitly stated and repeated campaign pledges to properly commemorate the Armenian Genocide, failing to properly commemorate this crime in all eight of its annual April 24th messages.

— The Obama/Biden Administration pushed Armenia to sign the reckless Turkey-Armenia Protocols, which called for a “historical commission” to examine a known case of genocide as a disputed set of competing claims. These accords were then used by the Administration as an excuse to not recognize the Armenian Genocide.

— The Obama/Biden Administration actively opposed and successfully worked with U.S. House leaders to block passage of a U.S. House resolution, H.Res.252, commemorating the Armenian Genocide.

— The Obama/Biden Administration described the Armenian Genocide a matter for “historical debate, through an on-the-record statement by their Secretary of State.

— The Obama/Biden Administration filed an official brief opposing Supreme Court consideration of a case allowing descendants of Armenian Genocide survivors to pursue insurance claims.

— The Obama/Biden Administration twice nominated Matt Bryza, a diplomat with a demonstrated anti-Armenian bias, to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan.

— The Obama/Biden Administration waived Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act on eight occasions, limiting enforcement of this 1992 law restricting U.S. assistance to Azerbaijan due to its blockades of Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh (Artsakh).

— As Vice President, Joe Biden told an Armenian American activist in 2010 that the Obama/Biden Administration did not honor its pledge to recognize the Armenian Genocide because the President of Armenia personally called to ask him to “not force this issue [of Genocide recognition] now, while we’re in negotiations [on the Turkey-Armenia Protocols].” This assertion was denied by the government of Armenia.

— The Obama/Biden Administration was represented by Vice President Joe Biden at a 2015 Armenian Genocide Centennial service at the National Cathedral.

— The Obama/Biden Administration signed a U.S.-Armenian Trade and Investment Framework Agreement in 2015.

SENATOR: As a U.S. Senator, Joe Biden supported a number of Armenian American policy priorities:

— Senator Joe Biden worked with Senator Bob Dole on his 1990 attempt to pass the Armenian Genocide Resolution (S.J.Res.212), consistently supporting – throughout his tenure in the Senate – resolutions and other legislative initiatives to ensure U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

— Senator Joe Biden supported Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act, adopted in 1992, which restricts U.S. assistance to Azerbaijan due to its blockades of Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh (Artsakh).

— Senator Joe Biden publicly pressed the Bush Administration to explain its firing of U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, John Evans over his truthful statements about the Armenian Genocide.

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