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. paulmm

    Sorry to inform you Mr. McCain, but for the past 20 or 30 years, due to the various abuses of government power, the US government has lost credibility with about 99% of the world at this point. But thanks for stating the obvious Senator. It's great that you have finally opened at least one eye to be able to see the writing on the wall. It's been there for many decades, unfortunately, and its getting worse by the day.

    August 18, 2013 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  2. Mike Lameyer

    Ya John because of idiots just like you.

    August 18, 2013 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  3. BubbaJ

    McCain, You have NO CREDIBILITY! You are as worthless as that person who sits in the oval office. You are worse than a Russian Commissar!

    August 18, 2013 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  4. Peter

    Rather than cutting aid to the Egyptian military the should be providing anti-personnel weapons. The Muslim Brotherhood plans to transform Egypt into an Islamic theocracy. The Brotherhood are the types that conduct 9/11 terrorism.

    Egypt has a large secular, pro western population. The military is protecting these people from the Brotherhood

    August 18, 2013 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  5. Rich

    McCain has no credibility in Washington or any place else! Why does the press Quote him on anything. He is not sure which side he is ever on...he can't even put a proper thought together let alone about International including Egypt.
    Its just so sad to see/hear him try to talk, think out loud, or make any logical conclusion about anything including which color of socks match!!!

    August 18, 2013 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  6. Ab

    Mccain you are a joke. You, hilary, obama, and now Kerry are the reason the us has no credibility. Arabs are murdering christians in egypt. Only the egyptian army is protecting them. So cut aid? Why not set up a no fly zone to give the terrorists cover? You are insane and a joke you big jerk! You were posing with known terrorists on your last trip. You are the embarrassment!

    August 18, 2013 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    Muslim Brotherhood are thugs, murderers, and terrorists by causing mayhem to Coptic Christians and non-sunni muslims. They should not receive US aid. They are mysogenists and terrorists. I believe the Egyptian Military did the right thing.

    August 18, 2013 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  8. maclaskey

    The us has no credibility anywhere including at home.

    August 18, 2013 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  9. mimisgems

    Well McCain YOU don't have any credibility here in the US, so maybe everything you say is hogwash.

    August 18, 2013 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  10. FatherMiller

    John McCain is an embarrassment. He needs to quietly roll off the stage. He has NO credibility at this point, and is nothing more than an infection for the Repubics or the country at large . Him, he's great pal Grahamesty, Rubio, Paul Ryan, Chris Christy, et al can watch as their " party " disintegrates. Go away're a caricature of Yosemite Sam...without the mustache, 10 gallon hat, or anything else that makes you worth listening to. The party of Dimm-light is a non-starter. Go check out the symptoms of early stage Alzheimer's or dimensia .. No McMaverick....I'm not even willing to honor your great heroic " sacrifice " at this point. You share far more in common with the worthless secretary of state John Kerry ( who also is rumored to have " severed " in Vietnam ) Sad sad people the both. Mccain is an embarrassment. No credibility ( other than with Dimms ).... We're tired of having this sorry sack, Carl Rove, and whatever else " Moderate " Repubic speak for the opposition to this corrupt Statist Regime. Peace....( not really )

    August 18, 2013 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  11. Clifford Bodine

    ""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.”

    That's interesting because our government also has no credibility here, either!

    August 18, 2013 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  12. Thomas

    McCain has no credibility in the USA!

    August 18, 2013 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  13. jorline

    And McCain has no credibility in the US.

    August 18, 2013 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  14. franksam

    Who would know better than McCain about a lack of credibility?

    August 18, 2013 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  15. klg1956

    McCain says the U.S. has ‘no credibility’ in Egypt...but it's because of idiots in office like McCain, who meet with terrorists and try to sweet talk them and Obama and Hillary arm the terrorists....that's why we have no credibility...and thanks to Obama who helped create this Egyptian mess, by backing al qaeda and the muslim brotherhood terrorists, his Arab chickens are coming home to roost! We were sweet talking the terrorists and making fun of osama bin laden before 9/11...clinton was making fun of the funny tall skinny man with a hat....but Clinton's so smart, he's a Rhodes Scholar..and they know everything, don't they? and look where that left us? you would think elected idiots would have learned something...but Obama is working with CAIR in OUR OWN WHITE HOUSE......working with muslims who are pro Islamic caliphate and pro muslim terrorists, pro muslim brotherhood terrorists and pro Sharia Law which cannot work with OUR CONSTITUTION....who would have thunk it....on 9/11 more than 3,000 died and now we are arming those same terrorists, who killed our 3,000 citizens, with weapons and missiles and training and God knows what else.....All eyes still on Benghazi because we were arming the terrorists and Chris Stevens found out we were on the wrong side of the Syrian conflict....that we were working with and arming the terrorists...and the terrorists murdered him and sexually assaulted him after he was dead.......and that's who CAIR supports.....and who Samantha Power backs and who Obama is playing footsie with them.....that's why this admin is scared to death that all this will come out and it's going to come out. He can't stop it...and the gov't is going to be downsized because of it! The American People will see to that!

    August 18, 2013 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  16. SAR64

    I'm sorry, but is this advice coming from the anti-gun, pro-police state senator from AZ, otherwise known as the "Manchurian Candidate"? I give his utterances as much value as my dog barking in the back yard. He has proven himself an enemy of the Constitution at every turn. Is there no patriotic Republican who can speak on behalf of the party now? Let McCain and Christi go have dinner with Obama, as they are want to do!

    August 18, 2013 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  17. Jon MacArthur

    McCain has become senile... The Egyptian military is confronting our major enemy – the Muslim Brotherhood – and their Islamic expansionist theocracy, and McCain wants to cut off aid ... All Americans and Western societies should come to the aid of the Coptic Christians, the Egyptian military, and all others who wish to free themselves from the yokes of Islamic subjugation.

    August 18, 2013 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  18. Josie

    I think it's Obama who has no credibility. Obama does not represent my opinions on anything. I also believe that those in charge in Egypt know the citizens of our country are horrified at what Obama has been doing in the middle East. He and Hillary have spread unrest and danger everywhere they went over there. And now Chris Christie says he wants the same thing. Christie has announce that he wants a pragmatic government–in essence what he was saying was that he is for a World Order where those in charge would decide what kind of government was good for countries around the world. I hope people are listening carefully as this man would just be another Obama. He should be on the Democrat ticket.

    August 18, 2013 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  19. Josie

    In other words, it would resemble what Brittan did when they colonized India.

    August 18, 2013 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  20. geg

    how many people have America bombs killed seen world war two. and mccains worried about Egypt military killing terrorist

    August 18, 2013 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |

    "McCain: U.S. has ‘no credibility’ in Egypt"
    Hah! McCain and Graham have no credibility at HOME in my United States of America!!!
    By the way, I hadn't heard that Obama, McCain, and Graham got together and decided the two conservatives should go to Egypt and do the "Foreign Policy" work of the President. Isn't Foreign Policy the reason Obama got a Nobel Peace prize?
    Boy, BS reigns in our capitol city!

    August 18, 2013 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  22. Diane

    Funny, I remember McCain saying we had to keep funding Egypt a few months ago. Now he and Lindsay Graham change their tune. McCain is such a good little Bilderberg boy.

    August 18, 2013 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  23. Mike

    If only we had a President instead of a criminal. Obama has broken so many of our laws, he belongs in prison.

    August 18, 2013 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  24. Zman

    .... and mcCain has no credibility in the USA ....

    August 18, 2013 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  25. Flechette

    Actually, it is McCain that has no credibility. He changes his position on every issue.

    August 18, 2013 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
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