Key GOP senators express caution about changing of the guard in Egypt

Anthony Maki Contributor
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Two key GOP senators expressed caution in the wake Tuesday’s announcement by embattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak that he will not seek an extension to his 30 years in power in the country’s elections planned for September.

Stating that “obviously, the best case scenario is [Mubarak] announces that he’s not going to run,” Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain stressed the need for a “real democratic campaign.”

“I think that lessens the chances for the Muslim Brotherhood to gain traction,” he continued. “I have no doubt about the threat of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Noting the organization’s ties with the terrorist group Hamas, McCain slammed the media for its misinformed portrayal of the Islamist group.

“I hear a lot of good things about them in the media,” he said. “That’s not true.”

McCain also called the Obama administration’s initial comments on the situation “really wrong,” suggesting that he and his team stumbled at first in response to the crisis. However, McCain said that he doesn’t intend to “second-guess” the president.

“Maybe we need to get out further ahead [of events],” he said. “But I’m not going to try to second-guess the president at this difficult time.”

South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham echoed McCain’s concerns over the possibility of a government taking over that is worse than the one that currently rules Egypt.

Just say no to radical Islam, Graham said in a message directed towards the protesters in Egypt.

Addressing Egyptian youth and “people of all backgrounds,” Graham said, “You’re on the verge of creating new Egypt. I understand what you want because we assume it and accept it and almost take it for granted here. I hope you are wise enough and brave enough to say no to radical Islamic forces that would take your future and make it as dark as it is today.”

Stability was the best benefit of the United States’ relationship with Egypt, Graham said, adding “those days are coming to an end.”