Photos: Egypt protests
August 18th, 2013
10:58 AM ET
11 months ago

McCain: U.S. has ‘no credibility’ in Egypt

(CNN) – It’s high time for the United States to cut off its $1.3 billion in aid to Egypt as the military regime cracks down violently on protesters, Sen. John McCain argued Sunday.

The Arizona Republican added the U.S. has lost its credibility in the region after failing to follow its own law that requires suspending aid to states overtaken by a military coup–though the U.S. has not officially described the recent regime change in Egypt as a coup.

"We have no credibility. We do have influence, but when you don't use that influence, then you do not have that influence,” McCain said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

McCain, along with Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, traveled to Egypt earlier this month at the request of President Barack Obama to implore military leaders to begin holding elections and transition into a democracy.

While McCain voted late last month to maintain aid to Egypt, the longtime senator has since had a change of heart and is now joining others, including Republican Sen. Rand Paul, in calling for the Obama administration to suspend aid.

Breaking from his vacation in Martha’s Vineyard last week, Obama made a statement about the renewed unrest in Egypt, saying the U.S. will cancel its upcoming joint military exercises with the country. But he stopped short of suspending the aid.

With much of that $1.3 billion going to the Egyptian military, McCain argued the continued assistance will further spur tension and anti-American sentiments in the region.

"With Apache helicopters flying overhead (in Egypt), nothing is more symbolic of the United States of America siding with the generals,” he told CNN's chief political correspondent Candy Crowley.

Republican Sens. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Bob Corker of Tennessee, who initially voted to maintain aid, also said Sunday that U.S. should withdraw assistance.

“They're obviously getting the impression that no matter what they do, our aid will continue. So we do need to exercise our influence by saying we're going to follow the law ... (and) suspend aid, until you restore democracy,” Ayotte said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

On the same program, Democratic Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island said recent acts by the Egyptian military are “completely unconscionable, and I do believe we have to change our aid.”

Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, however, said while the U.S. may not have as much influence over Egypt as it once did, he believes Egypt’s military leaders don’t want to obliterate its relationship with the U.S. and therefore the Obama administration still has “substantial influence.”

“It's a little bit bizarre to understand why they're doing what they're doing, but I don't think you throw the baby out with the bathwater. Egypt's an important country, and I think we have to be very careful before we willy-nilly just cut off aid,” Engel said on ABC’s “This Week.”

As for why McCain and others supported the aid in the Senate vote last month, McCain said he wanted to give the military regime in Egypt an opportunity to enact a democratic government. He and other senators also argued that a cutoff of aid to Egypt would ultimately hurt Israel.

Asked Sunday if he still believes a suspension would indirectly damage the Jewish state, McCain said there would be a “risk.”

“But I also would point out that the Mubarak regime and this regime is stoking anti-Americanism to a large degree, and anti-Israel rhetoric is very high,” he said. “I believe that Israel can defend itself, although it may be of some cost to them, but look at the cost of American credibility."

McCain said the Obama administration’s handling of Egypt is just one sign of what he described as the president’s lack of foreign policy in the Middle East.

"There is no policy, and there is no strategy. And therefore, we react and we react poorly,” he said.

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.


Filed under: Egypt • John McCain • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (684 Responses)
  1. Suze

    To call this a military coup is the equivalent of throwing US support behind Al Quada. Morsy publicly supported the Brotherhood's call for Egyptians to go to Syria for jihad. The Brotherhood kidnapped and killed military officers in Sinai, their crimes went unchecked. Money flowing in from Qatar disappeared. Government services were disappearing. Morsy stood with the extremist Brotherhood while they murdered and terrorized Egyptians. The Egyptians revolted because they did not want to live under the rule of extremist Muslims. McCain hasn't talked to the everyday Egyptian business owners and civilians who finally feel hopeful now that the military has cracked down on the terrorist Brotherhood. Unless you live in Egypt, you don't know the terror the Brotherhood was inflicting on Egyptians under Morsy. To cut funding to Egypt will only allow the Brotherhood to be on equal ground with the military. McCain is an old man who would be better off in a retirement home than the US senate.

    August 19, 2013 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  2. upchuckliberals

    McLame is beyond useless, he's actually dangerous. He needs to go away and stay away. He serves no purpose other than taking up space int he Senate. Now he's an expert on everything under the sun plus a bit. He's got an opinion on everything except that people don't care what he says and he certainly isn't reflecting the people or the state he represents.

    August 19, 2013 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  3. republican american

    McCain has no credibility with republicans and thinking democrats.

    August 19, 2013 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  4. Edward

    I thought that there was a government in place over in Egypt which had been democratically instituted. Egypt needs to reinstate the democratic process immediately, or else lose U.S. support.

    August 19, 2013 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  5. Ali

    John McCain flip flops more than the YMCA gymnastics team.

    August 19, 2013 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  6. Mark4java

    Another foreign crisis for the President that was going to make the world love us. A few things are certain...you don't want to be between McCain and a microphone, Obama will be nowhere to be found, McCain will not hesitate to volunteer America's sons to whatever conflict it is and finally we'll all be paying more for gas because Democrats don't want America to be energy independent.

    August 19, 2013 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  7. necronn99

    I want to make sure that this RION knows he got NO credit with the American people .

    August 19, 2013 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  8. Vancouver Wa Pete

    I'm very happy to see McCain agree with Rand. Rand is more in touch with American Republican, I will write Rand Paul on my next ballot.

    August 19, 2013 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  9. Just an American

    Who cares about our credibility in the Arab world? The U.S. has no credibility with it's own people. And speaking of credibility Senator McCain himself has absolutely none. The illegal alien promoting, Gang of Eight Traitors member, and former guest of the Hanoi Hilton should disappear from the political scene and fade quietly away.

    August 19, 2013 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  10. JamesAllen

    Without US consent, Sisi was just another As*Hole to take any such steps to kill democracy and Massacre people who are without arms and fight to restore the elected government of Morci, whether we like him or not. What US credibility you are telling about. The next step all those people will fight with guns and rocket launchers for their legitimate goals, what we call them then is Islamic terrorists and not only fund the Sisi and Egyptian army but reach our self there with drones and other leather weapons. That will be laughable point at the minimum.

    August 19, 2013 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  11. JP

    John McCain should know all about "no credibility" as the American people have woken up to his bait and switch politics as well. What a complete joke talking like he actually has credibility!

    August 19, 2013 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  12. schmuck281

    I don't understand. Why are some people upset because we are not following the law? Obama has established that it is not necessary to follow the law if we don't want to.

    August 19, 2013 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  13. brian

    $ 1.3 billion could put a few more teachers in US classrooms, that would improve US credibility here at home.

    August 19, 2013 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  14. Desert_Dude

    Coming from the man with SOOOO much credibility....Pfffttt

    August 19, 2013 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  15. Chris

    Well if anybody would know about having no credibility, John McCain is the guy.

    August 19, 2013 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  16. RomY Monteyro

    Samson is correct. Saudi Arabia already sent $5B, the UAE $2B plus $B soft loan with no interest and payable when able. Then there is oil-rich Kuwait and others who hate the Muslim Brotherhood. The Egyptians, military or civilians don't care one way or the other if we cut aid. It is the U.S. suppliers of tanks, planes,vehicles, guns etc. who will suffer, not the Egyptians! So Obama won't cut the aid to ensure campaign contributions from those suppliers for his Party!

    August 19, 2013 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  17. lizaz

    Or anywhere else, I would say!!!

    August 19, 2013 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  18. geronimo

    U.S. "credibility" evaporated when it put foreign policy in the hands of the likes of Obama, Hillary, and John Kerry. And toss McCain and Graham right in there with them. None of them grasp that the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood is tantamount to a Muslim KKK. There should be no hand-wringing over a crackdown against that outfit–just be thankful the military force there is capable of doing it.

    August 19, 2013 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  19. John Shteiner

    Yes that is right.. it was coup..and it was a bunch of bad guys that were burning and killing non muslims since they took over..this was nothing.. The "aid" is rent for the Suez which they run...why tick them off..its not aid its rent lol wanna see the gas prices double if we cut aid...when we are slowly coming out of a recession? we are hanging by a string in influence lets not saw our selves on the wrong side of a limb here.

    August 19, 2013 01:32 am at 1:32 am |
  20. john

    John McCain has a new partner then...because he has no credibility either and hasn't for a very long time.

    August 19, 2013 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  21. LarryEF

    And neither does McCain.

    August 19, 2013 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  22. Alinoge

    John, you lost all credibility yourself when you inflicted Sarah Palin on America.

    August 19, 2013 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
  23. Peter

    We better stay out of Egypt. Let's their people decide their fate. We only earn ourselves new enemies if we take one side or another.

    August 19, 2013 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  24. Parker

    McCain has an undeserved, overweening opinion of himself.

    He appears to be addicted to his own feelings of self-importance – regardless of his ham handed and moronic ventures into both foreign and domestic policy.

    I am sorry that I voted for you John. You are getting old and irrational and need to retire.

    I beg you sir.

    Retire!

    August 19, 2013 02:21 am at 2:21 am |
  25. Front Line

    McCain my be right about this, as our foreign policy is seemingly purposefully bad, but this article also has this report:

    On the same program, Democratic Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island said recent acts by the Egyptian military are “completely unconscionable..."

    Talk about a bunch of idiots. The Democrats shoot their mouth off without knowing anything or purposely misleading the American people again. They supported the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood in the first place and now not getting the facts straight. Any report that you read that does not have the Muslim Brotherhood or other Islamists there attacking the police, military and the Christians there is blatantly fault. Don't believe the liars. At last count 39 of the Coptic Christian churches were attacked. The latest reports of killing of Mus. B'Hood in a Mosque, should also include that the Police Station right next door was attacked by Mus. B'Hood, which failed and they then holed up in the mosque. Nor were any of the protest camps peaceful. All moronic and irresponsible reporting.

    August 19, 2013 02:27 am at 2:27 am |
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