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.

"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. suzy000

    As usual, McCain has it wrong AGAIN. This is the time we NEED to send aid. If we could send aid to that Islamist radical Morsi...surely we can send Egypt's military money to battle the radical elements that have descended upon Egypt.(I still firmly believe that Morsi was behind the Benghazi attack..that will eventually come out) Why are we always assbackwards? A coup, huh? Go back and rediscover what happened right before Egypt's military took over....the PEOPLE...millions of them...went into the streets to demand Morsi's ouster. Egypt has not been exposed to radical rule...their government has mostly been secular under Mubarak. The military stepped in FOR the people...this was not a coup. A coup is what Venezuela (Chavez) and Cuba (Castro) did. There is not a shred of evidence that the military wants to rule....absolutely none.

    August 18, 2013 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    thankfully, McCain was not elected President. We would be in a new war every month.

    August 18, 2013 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  3. Patrick

    The Muslim Brotherhood are the bad ones here. They want to place Egypt under Islamic rule, but surprisingly support Israel. Egypt needs to kick the MB out. I support the military fully.

    August 18, 2013 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  4. Bedoin

    Is anyone in Washington even trying to view this situation from the Egyptian Army's perspective? Could it be that the Army has seen enough of the Muslim Brotherhood to decide that the Brotherhood is the implacable enemy of the country?

    August 18, 2013 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  5. John

    Hello, the "US" has no credibility at home.

    August 18, 2013 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  6. Jake

    Majority of Egyptian people despise Muslim Brotherhood (Taliban). So why is McCain forcing the brothers on them ?

    August 18, 2013 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  7. William Shiell

    This imbecille McCain is an embarrasment to all Americans. Why can't he ever keep mouth shut? He lost the Presidential election because the U.S. public at least had the good sense to know a loser when they see one and he is a loser in every sense of the word. I guess that he's basically too stupid and/or arrogent to face that fact. The question is: why is CNN giving this man any credibility by reporting on the jibberish that flows from his mouth? He doesn't represent the Republicans or any sensible individual.

    August 18, 2013 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  8. Mark Sintor

    And Mr. McCain has long lost credibility with the American people.

    August 18, 2013 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  9. Dave

    Well, Sen. McCanus, you did say, after all, that Barry Obama would make a great president.

    Guess the chickens coming home to roost are making things a bit crowded, eh?


    August 18, 2013 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  10. Major

    Credibility? Neither does this clown called McCain. He's a fake that's not only destroying his party but taking part with those out to destroy the country as a whole.

    August 18, 2013 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  11. trapnap

    Whatever happened to "the enemy of my enemy is my friend " ? We have to start supporting what is best for our own interests . I read a lot of criticism of the generals who are attempting, successfully I hope, to eradicate the extremist, radical Islamists, and very little criticism of the radiical Islamists, sworn enemy of the USA, who are burning christian churches, murdering anyone who opposes them. A Egyptian majoriity put the Muslim brotherhood in power, and that same majority, after experiencing life under Islamic tyranny, decided they no longer would tolerate a tyrannical government, and they revolted. Sound familiar? The majority of Egyptians support the military coup. It is in the best interests of our country to support oppose the Muslim brotherhood and support the egyptian people. Are you listening Mr president and Sen Mcain?

    August 18, 2013 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  12. Portland tony

    John's political rhetoric once again rivals his lack of understanding of democracy in the Middle East. Egypt has never experienced true democracy, even after its independence from Great Britain in 1923, having "Kings" and dictators running the show since it's beginnings as a modern state. There are over 84 million Egyptians none of whom has the slightest idea of how a modern democracy is supposed to function. It will take time, generations if you will,for them to get it. For now they need another non-sectarian strongman who hopefully will lead them through the baby steps required to become a true democracy.

    August 18, 2013 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  13. Ngau Hu Phart

    Let's see... McCain is the one that DIDN'T win the election...

    August 18, 2013 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  14. Matt

    My advice to the President would be to let both houses vote on it, it is a big decision and that way no blame can be alocated to the admin. So as there is no determination on the coup, that should be left out of the vote. It would be a suspension of military aid. Or wait for Egypt to cancel aid, as they say they are looking at.

    August 18, 2013 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  15. Salty Bob

    What I'm surprised he doesn't want to send troops in and get us into another unpaid for war. Let them figure it out on their own as they have that right. They did say that the good senator opinion or help wasn't wanted or needed. So we can send them aid or not we can work with whom ever comes up on top or not but let them work that out and in the end what's left may be stronger than what may come out of this with the GOPs constant meddling in the world and its people.

    August 18, 2013 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  16. Buzz

    Thanks to incompetent Obumbler, the U.S. has no credibility anywhere in the world now.

    NEVER expect a democrat to tell the truth.

    August 18, 2013 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  17. J

    McCain has zero credibility.Lately he has been playing the middle to cozy up to Obama, so he can get what he needs.

    August 18, 2013 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  18. MaliciousDisorder

    None of the McLame's, Grahamnesties, rinos and all democrat politicians have credibility.

    August 18, 2013 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  19. Pete

    @James,that distinction went your idol in Bush,remember him the guy who single handedly killed more friendly relationships with countrys than you did with girls while in school,similarities pretty close ha James!!And remember Egypts been getting our aid which is mostly in military equipment for over thirty years so they're not lacking in anything related to warfare are they!!

    August 18, 2013 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  20. Barry

    Earth to Johnny...WELL DUH...You just figuring out what the rest of us knew for years. Might be time to retire.

    August 18, 2013 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  21. kotchi

    Question...why is it that the U.S.A can intrude on other countries worldwide, but when someone tries to intrude on them or their interests ..the intruders are called terrorists.What I mean is if you lived in Iraq and a war war was started on false information what would you call the aggressors? Just curious. The U.S.A. at one time was a great example of democracy. Today it's a disgrace. Hmmm..why do Americans wear Canadian flags when they travel...because they know that Canadians don't start wars...we help end them. I certainly hope the CIA is watching this message cuz I have no worries. I haven't been in a physical fight since I was about 12 years old and now I'm almost 61. But I may be a dangerous person..lmao
    Dear U.S and A as Borat said...look after your own people first

    August 18, 2013 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  22. dl

    MR. McCain , You have no credibility in America...

    August 18, 2013 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  23. Apple: Think Different, Congress: Just Think!

    Credibility coming from a career hack politician of a Congress with 82% disapproval. Senator, you have very little room to talk! Retire please...

    August 18, 2013 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  24. EpicMale

    And that lack of respect is due to McCain, with Obama's help.

    August 18, 2013 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  25. ge

    credibility was lost when you invaded Iraq on a lie–How is the arms sale going to the terrorist in Syria going

    August 18, 2013 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
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