During their visit to Cairo, US Senator John McCain called the removal of the elected Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi “a coup,” while Senator Lindsey Graham implicitly agreed with the description.
The remarks of both senior US senators came in the context of the White house administration’s description, which had avoided the use of the term when describing the Egyptian army’s removal of Morsi.
“We have said we share the democratic aspirations and criticisms of the Morsi government that led to millions of Egyptians into the streets,” McCain said. “We have also said that the circumstances of (Morsi’s) removal was a coup.”
McCain had previously called the army’s actions a “coup,” and reiterated that description in Egypt.
McCain and Graham, both Republicans, met with officials in Cairo to press for a quick return to civilian life. The senators were visiting the country for the first time since the Egyptian president was removed from office.
McCain said they were not in Egypt to discuss the past but to help the country move forward in a peaceful, democratic manner. He and Graham also urged the interim government to release the political prisoners.
Graham said, “We are here to help find an Egyptian solution to an Egyptian problem.”
The stalemate puts Washington in a difficult situation since the Obama administration has refused to refer to Morsi’s removal as a coup. If the United States formally called it a coup, it would have to cut off $1.3 billion in aid.
“The Egyptian military must move more aggressively toward turning over control to the civilian population, civilian organizations,” Graham said when asked by CNN on Sunday about the purpose of his visit to Egypt.
“The military cannot keep running the country. We need democratic elections. The Brotherhood needs to get off the streets and back into the political arena and fight your (their) differences there, and we need to put Egypt back to work. If this continues, it is going to be a failed state. That is why we are going.”
When asked about describing Morsi’s removal as a coup, unlike deposed Hosni Mubarak’s removal, he said that Mubarak had not been freely elected, while Morsi had.
According to CNN, both Senators were asked by US president, Barack Obama, to go to Cairo in order to put pressure on different sides to end the political dea