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. Indy

    Typical Republican stance is to push democracy and start wars where you are not wanted. Bush did a fine job of this and ruined diplomatic relations around the world and the financial collapse soon followed.Yeah thats a great idea to keep the Bush democracy going !!! Republicans will do anything as long as it does not benifit middle class and the rich keep getting richer.

    January 31, 2011 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  2. Joan

    So what would Sen. Kyl do? Would he call for the immediate exit of the Egyptian leader? Then who runs the country? The new PM has not enough experience right now and neither does the new cabinet. Should it be run by anarchists or mob rule? Yes, there are thousands of mainly youth protesting the current government and rightly so. The leader is horrible and needs to go but the administration is looking at it from all angles and it needs to change to a democratic system in a thoughtful, careful way. If you ask the majority of Egyptians in Cairo and Alexandria right now if they are better off now than they were two weeks ago, they would probably have to say no because they have no bread, other food, water, acces to money and gas and their homes are being threatened by thugs and looters. Is this what Sen. Kyl thinks is acceptable. I felt for the poor Egyptian lady who was so distraught about the way the media is protraying Egypt and the protestors. She said that is not the real Egypt. It seems that many journalists and pundits are using this whole mess for the wrong reasons. If Egypts fall into the wrong hands then Iran will be thrilled and Israel should fear for its saftely. Be careful what you wish for.

    January 31, 2011 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  3. caliconor

    IIn otherwords, this GOP imbecile wants us to go on a world tirade by pushing our views onto other countries.

    January 31, 2011 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  4. GOP = Greed Over People

    Wasn't it considered "treason" by the shrub's admin if anyone broke ranks and did not present a "united front" during a foreign crisis?

    Maybe that is only when the GOP is trying to hide the lies from the public, that started a war to profit big business and was built on the coffins of thousands of young Americans?

    January 31, 2011 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  5. Justin

    What a blowhole! The guy is useless, completely useless.

    January 31, 2011 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  6. Sgt Schultz

    Senator Kyl is the worst Senator in history. All he does is whine and complain about every little thing he can imagine in his tiny brain...while offering absolutely ZERO ideas or suggestions of his own. If you can't bring anything useful to the table, don't bother showing up for work Kyl. What a waste of space.

    January 31, 2011 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  7. Ruth

    Bush promotes democracy by invading countries (Iraq) under false pretenses (WMD). Democracy from the barrel of a gun. Sounds like Chairman Mao's style.

    January 31, 2011 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  8. Dave

    The same vigor and prescription that have us in 2 almost decade long wars and a doubling of our national debt? No thank you. Republicans need to learn we are not the world police. Sometimes we need to let big boy countries take care of themselves, however that may play out!

    January 31, 2011 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  9. S. In California

    I am so sick and tired of these nomads criticizing our president. IF they indeed know as much as they PRETEND to know why aren't they the president? They know George was ONLY good for a laugh and his foreign policy bought us 9/11. I will be so glad when we no longer have to hear or see these losers. Mr. President keep doing what you think is right.

    January 31, 2011 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  10. Gorbashov - Long Beach, Ca.

    What a political hack!

    The Rethugs, with the Cheney/Dumbya Crusade in Iraq, did more to alienate the average Egyptian specifically and all Muslims generally with their foreign policy blunders visa-vis the Middle East like no other in recent memory!

    Mr. Kyle, if you are supportive of what your President is doing then shut your trap!

    January 31, 2011 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  11. john

    Sounds like a child living a a fantasy world. Since when do we have control over a foreign nation. Even when Bush invade nations to "promote democracy" it failed. Besides most of these people would vote for a theocracy, that is what they want. Just like the GOP, but not Christianity. Want to cut the budget? Stop trying to police the world and let deal with our own problems.

    January 31, 2011 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  12. Mickey, NY

    LMAOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO...well, OF COURSE he did! THat's what traitors and domestic terrorists do!

    January 31, 2011 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  13. CaliforniaBC

    As usual Kyle has been caught napping again. Does he not remember the damage Bush did to our international relations? Bush would, now, open his big mouth and say something completely ignorant, as usual. Obama is MUCH smarter than Bush and obviously more so than Kyle. Does anyone remember how Kyle tried holding up the START Treaty last month, potentially damaging our better relations with Russia that we've repaired since Bush?

    Kyle is one of those old fart Republicans who have lost touch with everything and needs to be voted out of office. He's been there long enough.

    January 31, 2011 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  14. Robert in Austin

    How soon we forget that Bush and Rice pushed for democratic elections in Palestine and what happend was Hamas?!?! Typical of a Republican to denounce the President and selectively forget the past.
    Each case if different and each case requires care and deliberation.

    January 31, 2011 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  15. Chris

    If we had followed Bush's prescription for Democracy, we would invade Egypt, be dragged into a decade long quagmire, completely turn the Egyptians against us, and totally destabalize the region.

    January 31, 2011 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  16. Julie C

    Wow....that's novel, a Republican criticizing Obama.

    January 31, 2011 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  17. Inmyopinion

    The problem with President Obama is that he wants to be thought of as Mr. Nice Guy, he seems to think that if you're nice to someone that someone has an obligation to be nice to you, to be nice to others, that sooner or later people come around to kindness, very elementary way of thinking, this is one of the reasons why Obama was and is very good for community organizing but not good for President. And Clinton's words are weak, slow and not very encouraging.

    January 31, 2011 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  18. Harry

    Jon Kyl should keep his opinions on this matter to himself. Do not second guess those in charge.

    January 31, 2011 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  19. Moderate Sean

    This man, just cannot come to typing his true title as he doesn't deserve it, is an IDIOT!

    January 31, 2011 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  20. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    "it doesn't matter that I'm a Republican" HORSE HOCKEY!! One thing President Obama doesn't do is dive head first into situations without first thinking it through, even if in the end it may not be the best choice. It has all to do with a GOPer finding something critical about the president no matter what he does. I'm sure Sarah Palin is just waiting to add her 2 cents in without even knowing a ounce about Egypt. Sorry Kyle it has ALL to do about politics and saying something negative about the president to please your right wing base there in Arizona. After all it must have pained you deeply to be so agreeable during the Tucson tragic situation so it's back to business as usual.

    January 31, 2011 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  21. Greg

    Here's someone with half a brain. Witless and unpartiotic. He'd do the same thing Obama is doing, play hisd cards as the hand unfolds.

    January 31, 2011 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  22. Kara

    Would that be Bush's pescription of fire bombing a country into democracy?
    Because given that Bush's prescriton ended with 100 000 dead iraqi's and Obama's method of calling for an end to the violence has so far stopped the death toll in egypt at a 100, (1 to every 1000 Dead by Bush's method), I think the egyptian people would far rather do things this way.
    Why can't republicans seem to accept the truth of President Obama's statement. The Egyptian people will decide their OWN fate, as they should have been allowed to do all along.

    January 31, 2011 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  23. lynn

    He speaks with forked tongue. He's a Republican and says his opinion isn't based on being a Republican? Claiming the Bush doctrine of promoting democracy around the world means absolutely nothing. Just empty words made to make him look nonpartisan, but actually far from it.

    January 31, 2011 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  24. Abe


    Lets use the bush doctrine and promote democracy via force. Lets go to egypt with our armed forces and invade and support the revolutionaries that way. that worked so well in the past. What we need to do is to send food and medical supplies to the region, and say we "stand" with the people telling a sitting dictator/president to step down (whom is also our ally) will be seen as meddling. For those who don't know... the United States is not very popular in the region.

    January 31, 2011 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  25. Mike

    I guess he should look at his buddy in Congress, McCotter, who called for us to support Mubarak just this weekend. It is not our job to "promote" democracy and no one in the Middle East believes that we do. I guess Bush was promoting democracy when he refused to acknowledge the winner in Palestine, or when he supported corrupt governments in Central Asia. If he knew how to read, he'd know that we are riding the fence for a reason, we need the more moderate influence the Egyptian government has in the region.

    January 31, 2011 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
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