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. Rhinobuster

    John Mccain should be the last person in America to talk about credibility. He has none along with his buddy Lindsey Graham! Wasted my for for Mccain!!!!!

    August 18, 2013 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  2. Regularguy22

    Obama: Will you all just stop interrupting my golf game/

    August 18, 2013 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  3. lippy

    mccain has lost credibility with the voters time to put this old fart career politician out of office come on az voters lets get him out

    August 18, 2013 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  4. biffula

    "Egypt's an important country, and I think we have to be very careful before we willy-nilly just cut off aid,” Eliot Engel said on ABC’s “This Week.” "

    Yeah, kinda like when Obama willy-nilly supported the Arab Spring.

    August 18, 2013 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  5. kimdi01

    Mr. McCain, the US with our present leadership, or rather lack of it and that includes you, has lost all credibility throughout the world. The only reason countries have anything to do with us is because of the wasted TAXPAYER money going into their coffers thanks to government officials like you and your good buddy Barack Hussein and your squeeze on the side, Hilly Baby.

    August 18, 2013 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  6. jamie

    McCain who?????? LOL

    August 18, 2013 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  7. biffula

    "Egypt's an important country, and I think we have to be very careful before we willy-nilly just cut off aid,” Eliot Engel said on ABC’s “This Week.” "

    Um yeah, kinda like when Pres. Zero willy-nilly supported the Arab Spring, huh Eliot?

    August 18, 2013 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  8. Nick

    So now he wants to support the Muslim Brotherhood? The same group he and other republicans were against supporting when they took power?? John, make up your mind.

    August 18, 2013 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  9. John1025

    The US doesn't send Egypt cash. Reserves are added to US military contractor's banks in the US which keeps the Abrams and F-16 manufacturing lines running. The aid to Egypt is secondary to helping to spread the cot of US military equipment. Egypt doesn't want the tanks which of late still still in crates. And it doesn't want or need more F-16s. But our military contractors lobby to keep the US plants running but we make the take it anyway.

    August 18, 2013 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  10. Andrew

    Surely there should be a mandatory retirement age for Senators?

    August 18, 2013 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  11. dion

    Tell me and other that we don't KNOW already! The USA is a paper tiger saying this and that and don't cross that line in the sand and do this and we do that. Its all utter BS. EVERYTHING should be considered a coup in regards to monies and aid we send not in the US borders. THAT money can help our fellow countrymen and women to put food on the table and create jobs. Its our tax money helping our fellow citizens – HOW ingenious is that? If it wasn't for our precarious debt we have brought onto ourselves this would not be funny. We cannot be the worlds policemen as well as support foreigners who just want our money and later on with it use it against us. It's high time to drop kick politicians who think that sending our soldiers and money is some kind of national honor to honor what and get what? Absolute stupidity.

    August 18, 2013 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  12. the general consensus

    in typical John McCain warmongering fashion. this is the same idiot who got us involved with Syria. We are not the world police, and a country with a 17 trillion dollar deficit doesn't need to be spending anything. Oh...and one last parting shot on McCain: This is also the man who picked Sarah Palin as his running mate. I need to say no more

    August 18, 2013 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  13. Richard John Stacy

    No John, you're the one with no credibility.

    August 18, 2013 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  14. john healey

    we are no different than egypt. we are a military state, we have no democracy, privacy or anything other than spin to try to make the masses feel they have choices. we even have our own "christian" taliban. so why should we discontinue aid????

    August 18, 2013 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  15. bill pike

    "we are working on how to help the wounded vets" but we send billions to our enemy???? it is time we do not send one penny to any countries in the middle east-they bath in oil and we send them money????? they are our enemies and if you do not believe this read their "bible". They want all christians and jews whipped off the face of the earth-AND WE SEND THEM MONEY.WHY???? does obama think he can buy friends???? STOP SENDING OUR TAXPAYERS MONEY TO THE MIDDLE EAST NOW NOW NOW.

    August 18, 2013 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  16. jlrice

    McCain's opinion cannot be trusted. Remember he was adamant that U.S. troops remain in Afghanistan "we win the war there."

    August 18, 2013 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  17. steve from largo

    The US government altogether has lost credibility with the "LEGAL" citizens of American. WE as a nation should be spending OUR tax dollars for improving America, not wasting it overseas for WHO KNOWS what purpose or pockets. THIS country should be OUR governments main priority, period!

    August 18, 2013 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  18. Ray Charles

    Mr McCain! Sit down!

    August 18, 2013 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  19. Don Q

    What is the deal with all the anger? Enough is enough. If by 2013 the human populace cannot accommodate for people with beliefs different than our own, then those that can't deal with the differences need to be sent off this planet.

    August 18, 2013 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  20. sdowst

    This fool, McCain, has absolutely no credibility in this country. Send him into retirement before he single-handedly destroys our foreign policy.

    August 18, 2013 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  21. Patines

    Credibility? Which one? I thought that was lost long time ago.

    August 18, 2013 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  22. Don

    The aid given to Egypt is military aid, what this means is that about 30-60 counties that house military manufacturing in America get this money to build bombs and tanks and stuff to send over seas. This means cutting aid is cutting the sacred military jobs republicans so greatly cherish, so not gonna happen.

    August 18, 2013 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  23. Mike

    Than McCain doesn't have any credibility. He's made a career out of promoting this kind of aid and putting his nose in foreign affairs where it doesn't belong. Last time I checked he wasn't the commander in chief.

    August 18, 2013 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  24. Tahir wani

    Here is immediate need to suspend millitary aid to Egypt untill the egyptian army stops millitary against protestors.

    August 18, 2013 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  25. Alina77

    First I thought the name of the article was "McCain whines about credibility".. I had to put my glasses on to read it again.. Thank God its "whining"..

    August 18, 2013 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
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