Top GOP senator criticizes Obama on Egypt
January 31st, 2011
05:57 PM ET
11 years ago

Top GOP senator criticizes Obama on Egypt

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."

Filed under: Egypt • Jon Kyl • President Obama
soundoff (61 Responses)
  1. Wasilla Willie

    Then according to the "Bush Doctrine" we should be preparing to in invade Egypt. Isn't that how GW attempted to spread democracy??

    January 31, 2011 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  2. ThinkAgain

    A Republican criticizing the President? Knock me over with a feather!

    I swear, President Obama and the Democrats could cure cancer and establish peace in the Middle East, and the Republicans would still find something to whine about. (Not present any coherent alternatives, just whine ...)

    January 31, 2011 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  3. Marcus

    '"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'

    'Either you are with us or against us' is:
    – A disasterous idea of how to deal with your allies and enemies.
    – A fake dicotomy (it starts with the idea of the USA can never be wrong on ANY subject, which goes against the very obvious notions that humans make mistakes, can be in error or downright wrong about something and has the delusional consideration that the 'other side' is always wrong because 'I' am always right.... humans are not like that, neither countries' policies).
    – Bush's one and only (for a looooooong time) policy regarding foreign issues.

    January 31, 2011 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  4. Russ

    What an idiot. It's the vigorous promotion of Democracy around the world that caused the United States to lose face around the world under Bush. What would this moron say if some other nation decided to invade the United States telling us our way of governing was wrong and we should change to theirs? The United States needs to stay the hell out of other nation's business unless it has a direct effect on our way of life instead of going willy nilly around the world telling others they are wrong and you should do it our way.

    January 31, 2011 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  5. Pretzel Logic

    Kyl is a complete tool. President Bush invasion of Iraq is precisely why no one in the Middle East believes we have any credibility. Score political points elsewhere you nitwit.

    January 31, 2011 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  6. bobden

    Kyl? As if he has any idea what's going on. He's too busy making sure that lunatics can buy weapons of multiple murder.

    January 31, 2011 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  7. Rick

    Kyl is a Republican traitor. He will sell out the interest of the country for his personal agenda

    January 31, 2011 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  8. Michael

    Senator Kyl, do you think we should send troops to Egypt to help them with democracy ?? Sure, W didn't have a problem doing it and now we all have a problem with 300 BILLION going out every year and soldiers dying and returning with many medical stresses. Come on show your true colors and call for WAR on another country, Senator Idiot.

    January 31, 2011 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  9. John in Brooklyn

    Kyle demonstrates once again that he will use any opportunity he can to actively sabotage the Obama administration....including making inflamatory remarks in the middle of an international diplomatic crisis. Sec. of State Clinton has made it very clear that the US is fully in support of Egypt and Egyptians AND that the US stands behind a truly democratic and peaceful solution. Egypt is our closest predominantly Muslim ally...and it is reckless, at best, for Kyle to suggest that we should throw it under a bus.

    January 31, 2011 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  10. Terry

    Uhhh. George Bush's way of "promoting" democracy was invading countries. I think we're done with doing things "that" way for now. Thankfully...

    January 31, 2011 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  11. Indie Woman in Denver

    Jon Kyl, you're and IDIOT. Stop trying to stir things up. This is a time when EVERYONE in the govt should shut up and let the prez speak as THE VOICE of America, and the Sec of State as athe voice of the prez.

    January 31, 2011 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  12. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    ". . . it doesn't matter one wit. . ." said the half wit from Arizona. Americans can be proud that this pompous ass gets to spew garbage that he will contradict tomorrow, and we get to pay for his government healthcare.

    January 31, 2011 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  13. Lee from NJ

    There are Republicans arguing BOTH sides of this – and they do it on purpose. That way, any way Obama chooses, they will criticize. It's always about defeating Obama, they don't care about the country, the economy or anything else.

    As for Egypt, the best move for a foreign country like the US is to stay out – wait and watch (as Obama is doing) because rashly getting involved or choosing sides is the very worst thing that we can do. Of course most of the more educated Republicans know this, but don't care. This is just a "beat Obama" game to them.

    January 31, 2011 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  14. D-NICE

    Senator Kyl, I guess you want us to be the world police. That worked out so great under Bush administration, huh? What an idiot!

    January 31, 2011 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  15. disgusted

    Is there anything these guys won't criticize? How about some solutions for getting back to work, healthcare, etc.?

    January 31, 2011 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  16. Name king

    These repugs are getting desperate as the days past, these event you have to take great care in how you handle these situations since the last revolution was a horrible failure. The middle east is unlike any culture the American people have faced. There are extremist every where which would take a volatile situation and explode it into a fire storm, it's hard to set up government that will be democratic and stabilize an unstable region. These people love their god immensely and they view America as the great Satan, Atleast when bush was in
    power. So the chances of getting a government that will stabilize the region as much as the current president is unlikely. Obama is doing the right thing by coaching the president so that their will be a responsible change of government that will be more mindful to it's people in a democratic way and stabilize the region. These repugs and their political points, when will it end. They want to jump and do things without analyzing the situation and when things blow up in their faces they blame Obama.

    January 31, 2011 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  17. Bill

    Kyl is a buffoon. Blame, blame, blame is all the GOP seems good at. They have no ideas, policies or vision.

    January 31, 2011 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  18. OneMoreTime

    This guy just gets meaner by the minute. It really frightens me that the American people might hand over our
    beautiful Country to the likes of most Republicans. Some comments that I read on these blogs show an
    intense hate for all who disagree with them, you know they are Tea Partiers first, Republicans second, and
    Americans third. I resent those who insinuate that just because we do not agree with their agenda, that we
    are less than American. I have news for you, and you know who you are, we are just as educated as you,
    more than some, less than others, but we all work hard, love America and all that she stands for, love our
    families, our pets, our lives. Those who struggle are human beings and they deserve all the help they can get.
    What they do not deserve is the name calling, maybe some are lazy, Republican and Democrate or neither.
    I fly my flag, worship God, and believe that greed and hate will take us down. So, get over yourselves, and
    remember that your opinions are not always the right ones. Thank you for allowing me this.

    January 31, 2011 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  19. Phattee

    "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,"

    Yeah sorry, but anyone who believes this highly embellished real-time historical revisionism should be ignored.

    January 31, 2011 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  20. Whatever

    Bush ... greater democracy?!?! He is saying that a man in office 30 years is democracy?!?! OMG those of you who voted for the GOP put them in charge of Congress. GOD HELP US ALL!!! All they want to do is get involved and stay in other countries issues. Now what if all those countries had input in how America does things... only fair!!! Yeah I didn't think so... IDIOTS!!!!

    January 31, 2011 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  21. Jonathan

    Yeah, President Bush's prescription...invade invade invade.

    January 31, 2011 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  22. AJ Igel

    By "President Bush's prescription for support of greater democracy in all parts of the world" I assume Kyl means we should have sunk billions of dollars and thousands of lives by invading Egypt under false pretences. After all, this is how Bush "tried" to spread democracy, which is working all too well in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    January 31, 2011 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  23. kayla

    talking about bush, did he not get a shoe thrown at him. who respects bush?

    January 31, 2011 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  24. JR, San Diego

    "we had more closely followed President Bush's prescription for support of greater democracy in all parts of the world" and invaded at the first opportunity, yeah that would really really help, moron con.

    January 31, 2011 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  25. Phil

    Here we go again -- The repubs are off-shore "Nation Building".
    Wonder how they would like it if China or Iran came over here and began Nation Building.

    The whole idea in nothing more than pure arrogance.

    January 31, 2011 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
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