Trump: A Coward on the Armenian Genocide Like Obama, Bush Jr., Clinton, and Bush Sr.

Columnist Harut Sassounian
Harut Sassounian

Harut Sassounian


Last week, President Donald Trump issued his third April 24 statement “on Armenian Remembrance Day.” For three consecutive years, he did not muster the courage to use the correct term—genocide—to describe the annihilation of 1.5 million innocent Armenian men, women, and children by the Ottoman Turkish government!

Trump basically repeated the same words that he used in the past two years, with very minor changes. Again he used the Armenian term “Meds Yeghern” (Great Crime) to avoid calling the mass killings genocide! Meds Yeghern is simply a description that Armenians used before the word genocide was coined by Raphael Lemkin in the 1940’s, whereas genocide is a term of international law and has legal consequences. Besides, if Trump insists on using an Armenian word, he should have said “Tseghasbanoutyoun” (genocide)!

Since his election as president, many Armenians had been hoping that Trump would rely on his unpredictable impulses to describe the Armenian mass killings as genocide, ignoring the counsel of his advisors and the position of his predecessors. Unfortunately, Trump knows very little about Armenian-Americans and can care less about their interests. The only time Trump will pay attention to the genocide issue is when Armenian-Americans gain more political clout.

It should not take much courage for Trump to use the term Armenian Genocide, because Ronald Reagan previously used it in his Presidential Proclamation on April 22, 1981. If he cannot call it genocide, Armenian-Americans do not need Trump to say anything on April 24. The Armenian Genocide has already been recognized by the United States several times. In addition to Reagan’s statement, the U.S. House of Representatives adopted two resolutions in 1975 and 1984 acknowledging the Armenian Genocide, and the U.S. government sent an official document to the International Court of Justice (World Court) in 1951 recognizing the Armenian mass killings as a case of genocide.

Nevertheless, Trump’s inadequate statement has a couple of secondary benefits to the Armenian Cause:

1. It irritates the hell out of Turkish leaders who seem to be ashamed and outraged that the President of the United States is reminding the world of “one of the worst mass atrocities of the 20th century,” and asserting that “beginning in 1915, one and a half million Armenians were deported, massacred, or marched to their deaths in the final years of the Ottoman Empire.” Both Turkish President Erdogan and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu reacted with indignation and denial to Trump’s April 24 statement.

2. The statements of Pres. Trump and his predecessors cause each year a major political reaction around the world, generating mass publicity in the international media which is further fueled by the Turkish leaders’ denials.

On April 24, 2019, Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan issued an important statement on the 104th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Surprisingly, his statement did not mention Turkey or the Ottoman Empire as the perpetrator of the Armenian Genocide! This must have been an unfortunate oversight on the part of the Prime Minister and his aides. I do not think it was done intentionally, particularly since the statement does include a strong reference to Armenians losing their homeland in addition to the human losses. In the past, Armenia’s leaders have refrained from raising the issue of Armenian territorial demands from Turkey.

Meanwhile, Erdogan issued a particularly disgraceful statement on April 24, speaking at a Symposium in Ankara: “The relocation of the Armenian gangs and their supporters, who massacred the Muslim people, including women and children, in eastern Anatolia, was the most reasonable action that could be taken in such a period.”

Erdogan is shamefully accusing the Armenian victims of committing a mass crime against the victimizing Turks. This is an outrageous lie which is the equivalent of accusing Jews of killing Germans during the Holocaust! Erdogan must be suffering from a serious mental illness!

In a surprising development, Prime Minister Pashinyan responded forcefully to Erdogan’s pathetic lies. Pashinyan described Erdogan’s statement as “hateful” and called on the international community to respond: “On the day when Armenians around the world mourned the innocent victims of the Ottoman Genocide, Turkey, this country’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated a statement denying the greatest crime of the 20th century, calling it only, ‘the deportation of Armenians.’ To call the extermination of the entire Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire, as well as the massive forced deportation of Armenians (death caravans) ‘Armenian bandits and their accomplices,’ and the massacre of 1.5 million indigenous people, ‘the most logical behavior’ is not only a new level of denial of the Armenian Genocide, but also an excuse for the destruction of an entire nation. Such a statement on April 24, on the day of the anniversary of the Genocide, is a deep insult to the Armenian people and all of humanity, and an expression of extreme hatred personally by Erdogan. The world should not be silent.”

We are heartened that Prime Minister Pashinyan raised the issue of the Armenian territorial demand from Turkey, a demand that the Armenian government should pursue officially at the International Court of Justice!

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  1. State of Emergency said:

    “he did not muster the courage to use the correct term—genocide—”

    Call me naive, but I don’t think it’s a lack of courage…….

  2. Levon said:

    What a beautifully composed response to the mad man of our ancient homeland. Not much expected from a Low-Life “dictator/ruler” of a country that was allied with Hitler and the Nazi government.
    And we all know what he can do with his “so-called”
    Turkish archives :)

  3. HYE ORTI said:

    I wonder what Harout Sassounian called Obama who promised to recognize the Genocide but failed 8 times to recognize it, what should we call Obama? . Trump might not be polished but he is not a coward. We all know Asbarez hates Trump and cozies up to the democrats , no matter what, but let’s be fair ,Trump never promised the Armenians he would recognize the Genocide ,so he kept his promise.

    • Harut Sassounian said:

      I also called Obama a liar many times during his term of 8 years. In fact, the full title of this article was: “Trump: A Liar on the Armenian Genocide, Like Obama, Bush Jr., Clinton, and Bush Sr.” I regret that the editor of Asbarez deleted from the title the names of the other Presidents. This is not a partisan issue. It makes no difference whether the President is a Democrat or Republican! They are all liars, except for Reagan as my article points out. And he was a Republican!

    • Raffi said:

      In politics nothing is never, it’s true that President Trump didn’t promise the recognition of the Genocide, however when time is ripe, I believe he will recognize it.

      • joe said:

        Please. Total nonsense. The RIPE TIME is NOW. Was yesterday. Was ripe 20 years ago. Was ripe this very moment. Trump, your hero, WILL NEVER EVER utter GENOCIDE. Ever.

        • Raffi said:

          President Trump said: ‘America First’ not ‘Armenia first’

  4. Samvel Babayan said:

    Honestly, who cares? Armenian organizations have bashed Trump the entire time. What did you guys expect?

  5. joe said:

    Trump is a coward among other things. But they all are. There seems to be an entity in the US that is above all of them, that sets the rules regarding the AG. Its disturbing that US politics hates the other side and demonizes the other party, yet are UNANIMOUS and UNIFIED when it comes to the avoidance of any just acknowledgement of the AG. They all use purposeful statements to basically wash reality for Turks to escape justice..Even Reagan muttered “genocide” only once., and obviously someone in the corrupt State Department sat him down and said “boy, don’t ever, ever say Genocide again. UNDERSTAND?” And he said “Yes sir”.. As for the Turkish despots comments, its more akin to saying that the American Indians had gangs killing the Europeans and needed to be rid. Armenia proper needs to make clear that Turks are invaders. occupiers from the Asian foothills, basically squatting on Armenian property. And further make clear that the Greeks and Assyrians were murdered en mass as well and ask whether, THEY HAD GANGS TOO?

  6. ardachece barseghian said:

    I am proud of this analysis of your tenacity for our rights and our dignity

  7. Chris Tavitian said:

    While I am upset too at president Trump not using the word genocide , At least president Trump never once discussed or promised the Armenian Genocide, and he seems to be not aware of the importance of calling it by its name, to us Armenians, to the general cause of preventing genocides, and justice for the victims.

    I don’t seem to recall Mr. Sassounian calling Obama a coward with such angry tone.
    All I remember reading is “Obama skips/avoids/forgets mentioning the word genocide”, despite the fact that Obama was recorded on video on the campaign trail saying the Armenian Genocide is historic fact, and before that voting yes on one of the bills, promising to recognize it if elected.
    No such anger, no such tone was directed at him.
    Why the double standards, Mr. Sassounian?

    If a president never mentioned, or discussed our cause, the burden is on you, with your platform, and the leadership of the many Armenian groups, one of them I keep donating to, to get the message to him, and perhaps, a delegation of several leaders should request a meeting and then sit down with him or his advisers?
    That would sure get you and us more results rather than insults and name calling. That’s for sure.

    Also, our brothers and sisters in the Armenian groups attacked Trump almost 24/7, what did you expect? You and the Armenian groups keep getting used as a tool for political shenanigans by the left in America, and yet still are in bed with them, at the expense of your own people while they keep stabbing us in the back, denying us a basic recognition of what happened to our ancestors, the very same cause you are purportedly fighting for. Most of the time, in the past 25 years, the left had control either both houses in congress or one of them, and mostly, at times with also majority in SCOTUS, and a democrat in the White House, not one time any of them managed to get a bill to the White House to sign recognizing the Armenian Genocide, and in fact several times, Nancy Pelosi removed scheduled debate on the House floor on proposed bill to recognize the Armenian Genocide from the schedule, and pushed it back.
    Those are all cold hard facts and can be easily verified.
    The problem with this is not Trump. The problem is people like you Mr. Sassounian. Your insults and your double standards help no one but are only self serving, and that is a glaring fact. The same way the Armenian groups are doing, you want to get recognition by insults and accusations. That’s not how things are done and your lack of vision on this is painfully obvious despite your self promoted status of expert on this.

    “Armenian-Americans do not need Trump to say anything on April 24.”
    You don’t represent me, or almost any free thinking Armenian who wants justice for their ancestors, and in fact, your actions in the last few years have had zero positive impact on our cause. So kindly refrain from talking as if you have been authorized by us to tell president Trump (or anyone else for that matter) what we want.

    • Harut Sassounian said:

      Chris, I regret that you expressed a whole bunch of nonsense opinions based on zero facts. Then again, we live in a free country where you are free to say anything you want, except that you become the laughing stock of knowledgeable people. You twist all the facts desperately trying to defend Trump, a President who does not have the guts to tell the truth. In your extreme zeal to defend Trump at any cost, you fail to see that acknowledging the Armenian Genocide is not a partisan issue. Both Democrats and Republicans are cowards. And I have spent years severely criticizing Presidents of both parties. Yes, I did call Obama a liar. I also called for the Nobel Prize Committee to take back the Peace Prize from Obama for lying on the Armenian Genocide. I called Obama many names over eight years of his presidency. Stop seeing Democrats as devils and Republicans as angels. They are both the same.
      Also, who said that I and the ANCA have not tried to reach and educate Trump and his circle? You are completely wrong in making such a baseless assumption. We both have done exactly what you have suggested. But to no avail. Trump and his people don’t care about the Armenian Cause and have no interest in being educated. The ANCA met with Trump advisors, but again to no avail.
      Lastly, you are completely wrong in assuming that I represent your views. I represent absolutely no one’s views except mine. I hope you noticed that on top of the article is my name and my name only. Anyone, including you, can write an article or send a letter to Trump expressing your opinion, but you are not authorized to speak on my behalf or anyone else’s. I regret to reinstate these simple truths because you seem not to understand some basic facts. The only thing you want to do is defend Trump, contrary to Armenian interests.

    • ardachece barseghian said:

      who is and who serves this Mister Davidoghlou

  8. HAGOP said:


    • Harut Sassounian said:

      I did not call Trump a liar. You are right that he did not make a promise to recognize the Armenian Genocide. Therefore, he did not lie. I called Trump a coward because he does not have the guts to call the genocide, genocide!

  9. joe said:

    Its disheartening that some Armenians here view your comments from a clearly Fox “news” point of view, all propaganda BTW, and spew nonsense verbiage to find not only you but other Armenians as being somehow against their hero Trump . They go further by actually defending Trump because “he didn’t promise to call it a genocide” and because some Armenians were “bashing him”..(Imagine that,) No, TRUMP basically sent that Zionist war monger John Bolton to twist Armenia for Israel’s benefit against Iran at Armenia’s detriment. That’s what their hero did. I’m with the Armenian cause Mr. Sassounian. And so should EVERYONE HERE BE. I nor care care for this idiot in office or the 2 faced Obama. I care for my country and the well being of my people. PERIOD. ALL OTHERS ARE TRAITORS. That simple.

  10. joe said:

    I remember during George W’s administration we had all the votes needed to pass. George W personally called congressman the evening before to thwart the Ag resolution because “it wasn’t the right time” Imagine nearly 100 years and its not the right time.. I remember Condee Rice gleefully with a smile, with her gap teeth, saying she was proud of thwarting the AG resolution. I remember sex offender Dennis Hastert thwarting the Ag resolution and not bringing up for a vote because it became clear he was bribed by Turks to thwart it. This isn’t partisan folks. Expect some Armenian here in typical fashion take odars point of view against other Armenian. TRAITORS. NO WONDER were victims of genocide.

  11. Sato der sarkissian said:

    Baron Harout, apparently You are not aware of the comments that are written to you about your articles, otherwise you would not have continued churning on the same subject of Genocide recognition all the time. I advise whoever is in charge of reading them, if at all, will make you aware that there are those who do not agree with you. Otherwise we will give up on you too unfortunately. Your picture shows an intelligent and intellectual and kind man.
    I also address this comment to the persons in charge the responsibility of making sure that you are aware..