US Vice President May Contribute to Armenian Genocide Recognition by the US
"Explainer-in-chief", "Healer-in-chief" – these are the nicknames Donald Trump gave the Vice President of the US Mike Pence. 57-year-old Mike Pence is the 48th vice president of the US and was Donald Trump’s running mate in the 2016 US election. He was until recently the governor of his home state Indiana – for four years. Before being elected as governor, Pence served six terms as a congressman.
Mike Pence was raised a Democrat by Irish-Catholic parents in Indiana. He married his wife, Karen in 1985. The couple has three children: Michael, 24, a Marine Corps officer; Charlotte, 23, a film-maker and Audrey, 21, a "socially liberal" budding journalist, express.co.uk reports.
Pence is best known for supporting the Iraq war and during his whole career was mostly criticized for his stance on LGBT. In 2006 he voted in favor of a constitutional amendment to ban equal marriage, while in 2015, when Indiana governor, he backed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which many called to be discriminatory against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.
However, he is also the one, who in 2013, sealed the deal on a $1.1 billion give-back, the largest tax cut in state history, signed into law the state's first pre-K funding program and steered funds toward infrastructure improvements. According to Biography.com by 2016, Indiana was enjoying a $2-billion budget surplus.
So why Mike Pence?
First, despite Donald Trump, who is more unpredictable, Pence is described as a measured man, which will keep a balance. Second, having served as Indiana's governor and, as a former member of Congress, Pence has quite a big administrative experience. Besides, he is a Washington insider, which makes many think that he will be pivotal to Trump administration. Moreover, he will be the one who could help "sell" Trump’s proposals to Congress.
The words of both Trump and Pence come to prove the above-mentioned.
"If you look at one of the big reasons that I chose Mike — and, one of the reasons is party unity, I have to be honest. So many people have said, ‘party unity.’ Because I’m an outsider. I don’t want to be an outsider," Trump said this when nominating Pence, Biography.com reports.
"My experience on Capitol Hill and as governor and the relationships that came from those things are among the reasons (Trump) asked me to run with him and now to serve with him. I hope, in addition to the other duties that president will have me serve in as vice president, to play a supporting role in communicating the president’s agenda to members of Congress," in his turn said Pence, USA Today informs.
It is interesting that before becoming the US Vice President, still when governor, Mike Pence had criticized Trump plans on banning the entry of Muslims. "Calls to ban Muslims from entering the US are offensive and unconstitutional," tweeted governor Pence, mirror.co.uk reports. However, after Trump introduced travel ban oo Muslims from seven countries, already Vice President Pence defended this decision.
This is not the only issue on towards which Pence had other views than Trump. On Syrian issue Pence believed that the US should be prepared to assemble a military force to strike military targets of the Assad regime; on the possible Russian hacking he was inclined to believe that Russia was really involved, etc. However, today Pence has become the second most important politician in the US, a one who is actively defending Trump’s policies.
Pence and Armenia
It is interesting to note that Mike Pence is also quite well aware of the issue of Armenian Genocide and he has a chequered record on Genocide recognition while serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, 2001-13. As ANCA informs, as a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, he voted for the Armenian Genocide Resolution in 2005, but voted against it in 2007 and 2010 out of concern for its possible fallout on US-Turkey relations, while acknowledging the Armenian Genocide.
"I believe a genocide was committed against the Armenian people in the early part of the last century and it should never be forgotten…. The fact that more than 1 million Christians were killed makes the loss even more personal to me," Pence said at the same time adding: "While we should never forget this genocide and the lives that were lost and the lives that are still marred to this day, I sadly cannot support this Resolution…. Now is not the time for this Committee or the American Congress to take up the measure that is before us…. Turkey is a strategic partner in our ongoing efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan."
Though today Mike Pence is already the Vice President of the US, to expect that his stance on the Armenian Genocide recognition will change would not be logical, taking into consideration Trump administration’s approach towards Turkey. However, if a consistent and a structured work is carried out both by Armenia and the Armenian Diaspora, maybe we would be able to record progress in Armenian Genocide recognition by the US.
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