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. Senator Fekalhead

    RINOS Aren't credible either. The founders never intended for a permanent ruling class. That's what they were getting away from.

    August 19, 2013 02:34 am at 2:34 am |
  2. Attia

    mccain and the obama administration have no credibility with their ridiculous policies to support radical islamists. Supplying MB who link to al qaeda with aid and arms??? Time for you to retiire mr mccain, i do believe you are
    Too old.

    August 19, 2013 02:36 am at 2:36 am |
  3. Charles Favreau

    Let's remember that the Egyptian military has played a vital role in keeping the piece with Israel since the Camp David Accords of 1978. Where is our loyalty and gratitude to this vital ally. A Morsi government, controlled by the Israel hating Muslim Brotherhood, would not continue to uphold this policy.

    It is a mistake for the U.S. to undermine this action and support a political faction whose devotion to democracy is a sham. Anyone truly acquainted with the tenets of true democracy is aware that government ruled by the majority is only half of its essence. Protecting the rights of its minorities is equally important and necessary and this element was sorely lacking in the polisies of Pres. Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. And this is the form of pseudo-democracy that the Egyptian military acted against, as it should have.

    Material support for the Egyptian military is necessary and vital for it to keep its strength and should continue. Our leadership should support them.

    August 19, 2013 02:37 am at 2:37 am |
  4. Peter Wynn

    McCain has no credibility in the United States ... can hardly wait till you're gone, you are a phony, and a deceiver.

    August 19, 2013 02:40 am at 2:40 am |
  5. klesb

    John, please call it a day, and resign. it's your best chance not to be indicted. Stupidity is no excuse in criminal matters, so please do not use your Annapolis Class standing as a defense. If you remove yourself from the national stage, why would there be a reason to disclose anything about you?

    August 19, 2013 02:50 am at 2:50 am |
  6. rangerrebew

    If the U.S. has no credibility in the Middle East it is because of fools like McLame. Obama gets two useful idiots (McLame and Grahamnesty) to go there to do his dirty work knowing the "mission" would fail so the democrats can come out of this clean. Obama is a BIG supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood which, if you weren't aware of it, got its start in Nazi Germany. The Caliphate is what is important to Obama, not a democratically elected government.

    August 19, 2013 02:58 am at 2:58 am |
  7. PacRim Jim

    Who wants credibility in the Muslim world?

    August 19, 2013 03:03 am at 3:03 am |
  8. kofeod

    McCain needs to retire he's lost touch.

    August 19, 2013 03:27 am at 3:27 am |
  9. Moroni Breitbart

    Perhaps Sen McCain, but you need to realize that YOU have no support or credibility among true Constitutional Conservative Patriots in what's left of the Republic that spineless, stooges like yourself – armed only with 'situational ethics' – have helped the overall fall.

    August 19, 2013 03:29 am at 3:29 am |
  10. granthallock

    McCAIN is a war monger and thinks the U.S. should be in every nations business. Its time for him to retire !!!

    August 19, 2013 03:39 am at 3:39 am |
  11. python770

    McCain should clarify , Obama and the entire administation has lost all credibility in Egypt and not the American people. As we are all waiting to see what kind of explosive evidence will come out of there that will paint a few faces on the Hill. Morsi feels he has been betrayed as well as the Muslim Brotherhood and I think politicians are going to find out the true meaning of Taqiya. Our policy has always been not to negotiate with the terrorists , but it is clear that that policy has been breached as our administration has been supporting Al Qaida with cash and weaponry . And Main Stream Media is complicit in a cover up of massive proportions , this includes you CNN , for not reporting the true modus operandi of those so called freedom fighters under the Muslim brotherhood , Your defenders of democracy are riddled with perpetrators of crimes against the people of Egypt and other religions through murder and arson . Shame on You !

    August 19, 2013 03:40 am at 3:40 am |

    This appeared in Israel Hayom. I checked it out with 2 Egyptian military associates. They said that they had heard the same and believe it true

    'Morsi didn't win the elections' 
    Yossi Beilin 8-18-13

    An Egyptian official told me in person that the army rigged the presidential elections in June 2012, fearing widespread riots should the Muslim Brotherhood's candidate, Mohamed Morsi, lose the race.
    According to my source, who asked to remain anonymous, Ahmed Shafik, the former air force commander and former president Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister, actually won the race by a narrow margin. But the army generals - wanting to ensure that law and order would be upheld following the elections - feared that if Morsi was defeated, the Muslim Brotherhood would refuse to recognize the results and would end up conducting themselves just as they are now.
    official results, 51.73 % for Morsi and 48.27% for Shafik, were almost exact reversal of what actually happened at the polls.

    August 19, 2013 03:51 am at 3:51 am |
  13. Not important

    It would be hard for Obama to explain to the Muslim countries. First I came to shake your hands, then I pushed for regime changes, installed Muslim Brotherhood government(s), then I gave aid to the military to take down the Muslim Brotherhood. Hmmmm......

    August 19, 2013 03:57 am at 3:57 am |
  14. Javert

    ....and McCain has "no credibility" in the U>S>

    August 19, 2013 03:58 am at 3:58 am |
  15. glennrobert

    McCain keeps his face in the news every day. Do you suppose that he plans to run for something?

    August 19, 2013 04:00 am at 4:00 am |
  16. Andrei Bilderburger

    Why should President Obama follow this law when he doesn't seem to think he has to folllow any other ones, including the ones he asked for and signed?

    Our most fundamental loss of credibility was not confronting Morsy when he pulled things like declaring the courts to have no jurisdiction and ramming through a bogus 'constitution.' That is the kind of thing that forced the Egyptiam military to take over again. We could have averted this whole mess by dealing with the root causes as they occured instead of blowing things off and hoping for the best. Due to repeated incompetence on the part of Obama, Clinton and Kerry we're now left in the position where ignoring our own laws is the best of the bad choices we have.

    August 19, 2013 04:15 am at 4:15 am |
  17. kphm cName

    McCain has no credibility either, dinosaur moves and thinking, retire already, ok

    August 19, 2013 04:17 am at 4:17 am |
  18. KiloCharlie7

    Ironic since McCain doesn't seem to have any credibility in the U.S. any longer either.

    August 19, 2013 04:38 am at 4:38 am |
  19. Mic

    What the heck is freakin McCain doing in Egypt? And Graham? No credibility! These two traderous lying sacks are who have lost credibility here and abroad.

    August 19, 2013 04:45 am at 4:45 am |
  20. tony

    The US government has no credibility here.

    August 19, 2013 04:54 am at 4:54 am |
  21. White Man

    The US Government has no credibility with its own people right here in the US! Laws mean nothing to the Government! Just look at illegal immigration!

    August 19, 2013 05:10 am at 5:10 am |
  22. yod

    What a betrayal of the Egyptian people this liar is perpetrating!! And btw, where were you (CNN, Obama, McCain) when these muslim brotherhood thugs started murdering christians and ALL non-muslims as soon as Morsi was installed? They are not "innocent civilians" though that is the only narrative you allow. They are on a murderous rampage and the military is all that can stop them from killing everyone. The military is the hero in this tragic situation so stop with the propaganda already.

    I pray this betrayal will come back to bite all of you!

    August 19, 2013 05:28 am at 5:28 am |
  23. yod

    McCain is NOT, and has never been, a conservative. Don't try giving him that label...he's as liberal as they come and conservative don't want him.

    He has never had credibility to begin with. He's carrying Obama's water and runs interference for him with Republicans. An absolute imposter of a human being.

    August 19, 2013 05:31 am at 5:31 am |
  24. jeffincher

    McCain is the same boat as the U.S., they both lack credibility and are irrelevant in terms of the immediate crisis.

    August 19, 2013 05:38 am at 5:38 am |
  25. Tlr

    McCain has no credibility in the U.S.! I'm a die hard conservative! Lost all respect I may have had for him years ago. We should not be sending money to Egypt or anywhere else for that matter let them hate us for free

    August 19, 2013 05:58 am at 5:58 am |
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