President Barack Obama’s 2008 opponent isn’t giving him much help with the crisis in Egypt. Sen. John McCain has acknowledged that the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi was a “coup.”
The White House refuses to define the uprising — a combination of a popular protest with a military takeover that toppled the Muslim Brotherhood-backed president — as a “coup,” because the term carries legal implications that would prevent the United States from providing aid to Egypt.
But during a recent visit to negotiate peacekeeping, Sen. John McCain contradicted the White House. “We’ve … said that the circumstances of [Morsi's] removal was a coup,” the Arizona Republican told reporters Tuesday.
McCain and fellow Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina spent two days in Egypt at Obama’s request, hoping to resolve an impasse between the military and Morsi’s supporters.
But the day after their departure, Egyptian President Adly Mansour said in a statement that diplomatic efforts “did not achieve their desired objectives,” adding that the military leadership “holds the Muslim Brotherhood fully responsible for the failure of these efforts.”
Mansour echoed such sentiments in a televised address on Wednesday night, marking the end of Ramadan and the beginning of the Eid al-Fitr holiday.
“The train of the future has left the station,” Mansour said “It’s moving forward, and all of us have to catch it.”
Before embarking on the trip, Graham said the purpose of the trip was to help Egypt “move more aggressively toward turning over control to the civilian population, civilian organizations.” He further condemned the Brotherhood, stating that the Islamist group “needs to get off the streets and back into the political arena and fight your differences there.”
But, Graham’s hopes may have been too optimistic, as he stated that he had not realized how bad the situation was in Egypt until he visited the country.
“These folks are just days or weeks away from all-out bloodshed,” Graham said while in Egypt.
Obama — who took office promising “New Beginnings” in the Middle East — has yet to change his stance on the Egyptian uprising. American aid continues to flow to the troubled country.
“We cannot support Egypt that is not moving toward democracy,” Graham said. “Our aid is going to be tied to what’s best, from our point of view, for the world, Egypt and the region.”