Washington (CNN) - A top Senate Republican leader accused the Obama administration Monday of failing to promote democracy around the world with the same vigor of President George W. Bush, possibly leaving Egyptian protestors wondering if the U.S. really stands with them.
"We might be in a better position if we had more closely followed President Bush's prescription for support of greater democracy in all parts of the world," Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Arizona, said as he stepped off the Senate floor Monday. "If we had maintained that position and had that reputation in the world….then our calls today for restraint would have more credibility because the people of Egypt would know our heart was with their desire for greater representation."
Kyl's criticism came after days of mostly bipartisan agreement on the United States government's response to the unfolding events in Egypt.
"Having failed to create that reputation over time, I think the forces who are protesting in Egypt are less enamored with our calls for restraint and perhaps are interpreting that as support for an (Mubarak) administration which I really don't think the administration is trying to portray," Kyl said.
Kyl acknowledged the events create "a very difficult problem for us to deal with as it unfolds in real time. I don't have any argument with at least what we know publicly have been the administrations actions and statements to date."
Kyl, the second ranking Republican in the Senate, was asked if his comments violate a tradition of politics ending at the water's edge.
"There's not politics in this," he responded. "It doesn't matter one wit that I'm a Republican. I'm giving you my views of what's appropriate under the circumstances and up to now, by and large, I'm supportive of what the administration's been doing. I'm not looking at it as a Republicans. I'm looking at it as an American."