Two top aides to former President Barack Obama say his administration failed by not officially declaring that the mass slaughter of Armenians roughly 100 years ago constituted genocide – a topic that threatens America’s fragile relationship with Turkey, Politico reports.
Ben Rhodes and Samantha Power say the Obama administration was too worried about offending Turkey.
“It was a mistake,” said Ben Rhodes, who served as a deputy national security adviser in the Obama administration. “We should have recognized the Armenian Genocide.”
“I’m sorry,” added Samantha Power, Obama’s ambassador to the United Nations. “I’m sorry that we disappointed so many Armenian Americans.”
The two shared their regrets earlier this week in response to an audience question during an episode of Pod Save the World, a podcast hosted by Tommy Vietor, another former Obama aide. Their statements were unusually frank given the sensitivity of an issue that has bedeviled U.S. presidents for years.
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