President Donald Trump said Tuesday that the United States stood with the people of Armenia on Armenian Remembrance Day — the 103rd anniversary of the start of the massacre of Armenians at the hands of Ottoman Turks.
“As we honor the memory of those who suffered, we also reflect on our commitment to ensure that such atrocities are not repeated,” Trump said in a White House statement. “We underscore the importance of acknowledging and reckoning with the painful elements of the past as a necessary step towards creating a more tolerant future.”
Trump also said he deeply respected the “resilience” of the Armenian people, who he said built new lives in the United States and made countless contributions to the country.
By the time the forced deportation and massacre of Armenians from the Ottoman Empire ended in the early 1920s, more than 1.5 million people were dead.
Like his predecessors in the White House, Trump stopped short of calling the Armenian massacre a genocide.
Historians regularly use the term when writing about the killings. But U.S. ally Turkey denies there was any deliberate campaign of ethnic cleansing. Turks say Armenians died during the upheaval of World War I, including the Russian invasion.
Turkey also contends that far fewer than 1.5 million Armenians died.