Ilhan Omar declined to vote in favour of a resolution recognizing the mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks as a genocide, saying any “true acknowledgement” of such crimes must include other historical “mass slaughters”.
The Minnesota Democrat was one of just three House members to vote “present” on the resolution that passed in an overwhelming 405-11 vote.
The congresswoman said in a statement shortly after the vote she believes in “accountability for human rights violations” but “accountability and recognition of genocide should not be used as cudgel in a political fight”.
Democratic leaders in the House celebrated the passing of the resolution, including House Intelligence Committee Chairmen Adam Schiff, who wrote on Twitter: “The House just voted to recognise the Armenian Genocide – a vote I fought for 19 years to make possible, that tens of thousands of my Armenian American constituents have waited decades to see.”
“We will not be party to genocide denial”, he added. “We will not be silent. We will never forget.”