Maybe I shouldn’t single her out. There were more Republican holdouts on these two votes than there were Democratic ones, after all, including a very notable “nay” on each from Greg Pence, brother of Mike. You can see the full roll on the Armenian genocide resolution here and the roll on the bill sanctioning Turkey for invading northern Syria here. The only Republicans besides Pence to vote no on both were Jim Baird and Tom Cole. I won’t pretend to know why Cole did it, but Baird, like Pence, is from Indiana. Maybe he chose to do the VP, a fellow Hoosier, a favor after his big diplomatic trip to Ankara earlier this month by opposing accountability for Turkey.
Omar is the most interesting case, though, since you’d expect support from Democratic members for Democratic resolutions, particularly when the rest of the caucus overwhelmingly backs those resolutions. The only Democrat besides Omar not to vote yes on one of these two bills was Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas, who voted present on the Armenian genocide resolution but voted with nearly everyone else on sanctioning Turkey over the Kurds. AOC voted yes on both. So did Rashida Tlaib. So did Ayanna Pressley, the fourth member of “the Squad.” Only Ilhan Omar, curiously, balked at both.
Omar’s office has sent this statement to CNN explaining her present vote: pic.twitter.com/Gpj198jx0p
— Haley Byrd (@byrdinator) October 29, 2019
We can’t condemn Turkey until we apologize to Native Americans?
“Ilhan Omar all-lives-mattered the Armenian genocide,” tweeted Illinois prof Nicholas Grossman after reading her statement.
And what’s that bit about “academic consensus”? Which notable genocides does Ilhan Omar believe the jury is still out on? She’s been outspoken in the past in denouncing American genocide. Suddenly, today, she’s much more circumspect.
Remember too that Omar is a champion of the BDS movement. If she’s serious in her belief that we shouldn’t single out a particular example of alleged oppression when there are so many other examples we’ve yet to condemn, it’s strange to find her eager to punish Israel while overlooking far worse human-rights offenders. That’s been a core conservative criticism of her on foreign policy, in fact: Why Israel instead of China, say? Or North Korea? Omar’s inconsistency on when it it and isn’t okay to name and shame particular bad guys is … curious.
Anyway. Today’s resolutions will complicate life for both Erdogan and for Trump, which of course was very much the point on the Democratic side:
With [their attack on the Kurds], Turkey lost its already wavering support on Capitol Hill, and the dam burst with a flow of proposed sanctions, which also were approved by the House on Tuesday, and new momentum behind the long-stalled effort to officially recognize the Armenian genocide.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) smiled, pausing for five seconds and shrugging her shoulders, when asked if Trump’s move had eased the way toward recognizing the genocide.
“There was just an aura of what the Turks could be doing, is engaged again in genocide, by the greenlight that the president gave them. So that was sort of a callback,” Pelosi said Tuesday…
The diplomats from Foggy Bottom did not bother to register their traditional strong opposition with [Foreign Affairs chairman Eliot] Engel. “No one’s called me, no one’s called me. I think maybe they knew that I wouldn’t be influenced by it,” he said.
Exit question: Is the Senate going to pass the Armenian genocide resolution? The WSJ remembers that Turkey recalled its ambassador to the U.S. in both 2007 and 2010 simply because Congress had passed similar resolutions *at the committee level.* Imagine if this one makes it through the Senate too and suddenly lands on Trump’s desk, with Erdogan screaming God knows what at him on the phone to convince him not to do it. Watching POTUS figure out whether to sign it will make for a very special episode of “President Trump.”