Days after the military ousting of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, the White House continues to refuse to call the overthrow a coup.
“It is not in our interests to move unnecessarily quickly in making a determination like that, because we need to be mindful of our objective here, which is to assist the Egyptian people in their transition to democracy and to remain faithful to our national security interests,” Press Secretary Jay Carney said Monday when asked if the president considered Morsi’s ouster a coup
“Calling the action a coup could cut off more than $1.5 billion in annual U.S. foreign aid for Egypt,” Politico reported. Other reports say that an estimated $1.3 billion of that money is given to Egypt for military aid.
According to Politico, which reported more on Carney’s Monday daily press conference:
“We think it would not be in the best interests of the United States” to change its aid program at this time, Carney said. Asked if that would mean the administration would be cutting off aid in the near-term, Carney repeated his response: “we think that would not be in our best interests.”
Both Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., have called for a review of the aid given to Egypt over the past week, with McCain saying there is no question the military overthrow of Morsi was a coup.
Leahy issued a statement Wednesday reminding what U.S. law says: “U.S. aid is cut off when a democratically elected government is deposed by military coup or decree. As we work on the new budget, my committee also will review future aid to the Egyptian government as we wait for a clearer picture,” a report from Outside the Beltway noted.
Watch Carney’s comments here via Politico: