August 18th, 2013
10:58 AM ET
8 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. pottereaton

    McCain needs to keep his mouth shut and let the Egyptian military, which is fighting Islamic extremism in this case, do the job. What would McCain say if a fundamentalist Christian party won elections in the US and took over the government and started to impose religion in the public square? Religion and politics don't mix. The Egyptian people have recently come to learn that. It was necessary to oust the MB before it purged the Army and made it its own. If the Islamists ever take over the Egyptian military, Israel will be a dead duck.

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

    Perhaps McCain is correct about the Arab states, but he has zero credibility in the United States...he's just a doddering old fool that should have been put out to pasture years ago...

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

    And McCain has NONE here either!

    August 18, 2013 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  4. ge

    if they are just going to collect taxes and send to foreign countrys ,why bother

    August 18, 2013 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  5. Arminius

    Cut off aid, and maybe then we'll be credible.
    While we're at it, cut off John McCain's microphone and then maybe HE'LL be credible. Or at least, harder to hear.

    But then, how would the Administration get its talking points into the ears of Republicans?
    -Wait, I forgot: there's still Lindsey Graham and Chris Christie.

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

    McCain: U.S. has ‘no credibility’ in Egypt.

    And why do you think that is John? Actually, you are half right; the U.S. 'no credibility' anywhere in the world thanks to obozo!

    August 18, 2013 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  7. Siedl

    I am an African Ghanaian,have never been to the US but i believed,loved America almost all my life for their credibility and i lost it all since obama refuce to open his blessed mouth and cut aid to this New Hitler rising from Egypt.

    August 18, 2013 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  8. Art

    What, McCain might be right? Now that would be a first. But it is he that has lost credibility with the American people.

    August 18, 2013 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    I would suggest that it is John McCain who has no credibility as a so called representative of the United States. He and his cronies need to butt out of further "Nation Building" exercises throughout the world. Let those countries decide their own fate and use the process in place for thousands of years to get there. Spend those America tax dollars here at home fixiing what ails this country and not places where they hate America.

    August 18, 2013 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  10. Jakesprogress

    You're either with the secular military or you're with the Muslim Brotherhood. That's it. Obviously the moron McCain can't figure this out, or is in bed with the Brotherhood just like the creep in the White House.

    August 18, 2013 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  11. Abdel

    it is clear that General Sissi has overpassed all limits and no one supports his killing roadmap. Now it is time for Obama to say STOP to this shameless general, stop of killing human beings regardless of their political or religious tendency. this massacre is a shame. where are human rights? where are USA human rights organizations?

    August 18, 2013 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  12. billy

    John McCain is the one with no credibility. He is a dangerous old fool who is either in someones pocket, like Keating 6 days, or he has lost his mind!

    August 18, 2013 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  13. eaglebob

    John McCain has no credibility and he's sat on his ass for years watching this debacle going on. Truth be told the united states government has no credibility anywhere in the world....particularly in the united states

    August 18, 2013 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  14. buck ofama

    McCain has no credibility in the United States. Why doesn't he shut his pie-hole?

    August 18, 2013 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  15. L.L. Smith

    "McCain: U.S. has ‘no credibility’ in Egypt"
    Our government has no credibility with most of the American people including John McCain.

    August 18, 2013 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  16. Siedl

    I am not an Arab nor an EgyptIan,i am a citizen of the world and i believe in the cause of democracy and human right,thus,life,liberty and the pursuit of hapiness.Is America still the police of the world Or its Egypt and Gen Sisi????

    August 18, 2013 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  17. g

    why not just write the check to the military industrial complex and quit calling it aid .aid sounds like the people of the country are benifiting when they are not

    August 18, 2013 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  18. David in Ardmore

    Yes, Obama is a weak leader, even more so than the previous two Presidents. But it's more complicated than that, John McCain! You're just upset because you're not in control.

    America hasn't fought a war to conquer an enemy since World War II. No, the government and its corporate friends have used war to service crisis construction and suck the wealth out of Middle America.

    Have you seen the debt lately, John? Did you notice all the real jobs leaving the country during your Senate tenure, John?! Did you notice our latest rounds of Presidents only ask for wars on ideology and bad habits, John?

    I've been to the Middle East not infrequently, and most of the folks there love Americans, but it's our government they despise.

    August 18, 2013 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  19. David

    McCain needs to be treated for dementia immediately. Calling for the U S not to support Egypt will lead to the US being a non player in the Mideast going forward. Obama totally screwed up Syria, Lybia and Iraq. Syria is in. Civil war, Lybia is a mess with the anti aircraft missiles in terrorist hands and Iraq is about to enter a civil war. Now we are faced with supporting Obsma's best friend, the Muslim Brotherhood, which is nothing less than a terrorist Organization or Egypt's army which is anything but part of a radical Muslim group. Do we support Terrorists or non terrorists? McCains contention that theisljm Brotherhoos needs to be part of Egypt's government will lead ultimately to another Iran. As I said over two years ago, the Arab spring will turn into a nuclear winter and with Obama's foreign policy, there is no don't that we will not do a thing to stop it.

    August 18, 2013 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  20. EKObservor

    Did McCain lobby for cutting aid to Egypt any of the last 30 years that Mubarak was in power? Or did he consider Mubarak's regime to be a "democracy" all that time? Hmmmmmm.

    August 18, 2013 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  21. LouAZ

    This has nothing to do with "democracy" or any thing political. It is just another sunni/sheite fight about how to "worship" their same god. It has been going on since the death of Mohammed. Our only policy should be to make sure either side never runs out of ammunition. You can't fix stupid.

    August 18, 2013 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  22. Jeff

    Continue aid as Muslim Brotherhood are nothing but murderers and have killed hundreds of Christians. Tell traitor McCain to take a hike! He and Obama started this and now it has gone out of control, a common ending to all Obama ventures in the Middle East. Obama supports the Brotherhood killers, so he wants the government to be undermined!

    August 18, 2013 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  23. The Bruce

    And, thanks to his support of the NSA domestic spying programs, McCain has no credibility in the United States.

    August 18, 2013 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  24. nowaytoday

    And McCain has no credibility with the American people any more,The older he gets the more obama he becomes. McCain do the US ("US") a favor and retire and let a real conservative take your place.

    August 18, 2013 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  25. Angry American

    John McCain has no credibility in America.

    Until the day when America becomes energy efficient and is able to free herself from the shackles of Arab oil dependency, and we will have no further interest in the domestic affairs of those brutish peoples, then respect for America will begin to rise. Until then, we as a country will suffer the contempt of those people while John McCain continues to engage them in political manipulation.

    August 18, 2013 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
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