August 18th, 2013
10:58 AM ET
7 years 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.

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"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. Yuripelham

    So McCain supports terrorists. Loser!

    August 18, 2013 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  2. RLABruce

    Loss of US credibility is just one more way Obama has damaged our country.

    August 18, 2013 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  3. ptw

    Ah McCain. Always calling for the hardline response when he's not the one who will be held responsible for and have to deal with the mess it creates.

    August 18, 2013 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  4. Topdecker

    McCain would have us spend another trillion dollars on a war, err, police action in Egypt. No thanks.

    August 18, 2013 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  5. Truth

    Why is this news? What nut wouldn't want us to cut funding?

    August 18, 2013 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  6. dave

    McCain, the republicans in general, lack credibility on all foreign matters. Their record is starting huge wars, then not paying for them, while giving huge tax breaks to the rich, under the supposition that the rich would create jobs if they were richer, but they don't create jobs, the rich just horde the money, sitting around counting it, while millions are unemployed, no paycheck. Nothing would please the republicans more than to have the whole Middle East erupt into wars, with US right in the middle of it all, while not paying the trillions that it would cost, and then giving even more tax breaks to the rich. Being continuously at war, while continuously crying for more tax breaks to the rich is a pathetic position. If the entire Middle East were at war gas would be like $10 a gallon or more, and republicans would have no sympathy for those who can't afford gas to get to work, etc., they would tell them all to buy oil on the stock market with all that money they have laying around doing nothing.

    August 18, 2013 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  7. Belseth

    In other news they are ice skating in Hell, I find myself agreeing with McCain and Rand Paul.

    August 18, 2013 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    Someone should take the gun away from McCain and put him in a nice institute with lots of candy! this guy is totally nuts.

    August 18, 2013 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  9. Bill Pearlman

    Now we're worried what bunch of lunatics think

    August 18, 2013 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  10. pfilth

    Documents recovered when the Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood compound was raided, by the secular opposition, show that the U.S. government funded 8 billion dollars; not the Egyptian government, but to the Muslim Brotherhood itself. This money was provided through secret diplomatic channels directly from the White House, outside Congressional oversight.

    When Sissi took command, by ousting Morsi, there was an additional amount of money given to the Egyptian military through McCain and Lindsey Graham to make sure that the original negotiation between Obama and the Muslim Brotherhood would be honored and would remain secret. The agreement that the White House paid 8 billion dollars for was to allow the Hezbollah Palestinians to be able to create a base camp, and remain in Sinai desert, inside Egypt's border.

    August 18, 2013 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  11. Chris Kean

    And why is the US sending "aid" to an oil/gas rich middle eastern nation.... especially given our own economic problems? The middle east is a mess... always has been... always will be. Just a bunch of cavemen. Whatever we do there is a waste of time, money and precious US military lives. My vote is to keep our money and military at home until needed to strike a clear and present danger.

    August 18, 2013 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  12. Iqbal

    US already lost credibility by not declaring the ARMY intervention as coup! Moreover, Kerry said ARMY is here to restore democracy!...what a farce.

    August 18, 2013 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  13. Ronald Romney

    Once again I agree with Senator McCain. No, I didn't vote for him, but he makes a heck of alot more sense than any other Republican these days.

    August 18, 2013 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  14. Brian Leblanc

    Actually, the US lost credibility with the Warren Commission.

    August 18, 2013 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  15. Omar

    Whe've lost credibility in the ME since the election of the Obamanation, alright – with our erstwhile allies in the region.

    August 18, 2013 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  16. DC Observer

    John, introduce a bill and just do it.... have the House do likewise If Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi oppose it they would be in violation of the law - impeach them..along with that other fellow in the Oval Office

    August 18, 2013 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  17. mon jccain

    McCain lost credibility as a sane senior citizen the moment he allowed palin to be his running mate. He needs to be in a nursing home heavily medicated and far away from US politics

    August 18, 2013 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  18. Ron Cooper

    Then we are even.......McCain has ZERO credibility in the USA!

    August 18, 2013 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  19. Steve

    No, don't cut off their aid... They've already decimated their tourism industry and looted all of the museums. They need all the help they can get! Wow.

    August 18, 2013 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  20. memo2

    McCain said: said U.S. has 'no credibility in Egypt ?, Because Mohamed Morsy is out of business !!!.
    It's amazing how McCain tell us the truth about what they been doing in Egypt.

    August 18, 2013 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  21. kevin

    No, it is you, McCain who has no credibility.

    August 18, 2013 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  22. Honestly

    "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."

    Wait, he was for it before he was against it a month ago? Really?? I guess 'maverick' means when you don't follow the party line one month you start following the party line the next month.

    August 18, 2013 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  23. common sense

    Save that $1 billion and spend it on assisting our own people. Let Egypt burn in hell.

    August 18, 2013 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  24. McCain is a traitor

    McCain probably oses to cut off aid to Egypt, Give es money instead to his good friends, Communist
    Vietnam -to make a sequel to the propaganda tapes he made for them before when he got special treatment during the war as their guest – uh, I mean, "prisoner".

    August 18, 2013 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  25. Matt Mattson

    We have no money either, and it makes little sense to send borrowed money to oil countries.

    August 18, 2013 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
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