Rep. Mike Rogers said Sunday that the Egyptian military is a stabilizing force and should continue to receive U.S. aid, despite its role in deposing a democratically elected government.
Mr. Rogers, a Michigan Republican who is chairman of the House intelligence committee, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that he would support making an exception to U.S. law that calls for the suspension of U.S. aid in the case of a military coup.
“We should continue to support the military, the one stabilizing force that can temper down the political feuding that you’re seeing going on now,” he said.
Other lawmakers were cautious Sunday about the role the U.S. should play as the political unrest unfolds in Egypt.
On “Fox News Sunday,” Sens. Bob Corker, Tennessee Republican, and Jack Reed, Rhode Island Democrat, said that the U.S. can be a calming influence but that responsibilities are ultimately up to the Egyptian people.
“Our role right now should be one of applying calm, trying to get our partners in the region to do the same thing,” Mr. Corker said.
Mr. Reed said that the military must move to be “inclusive,” unlike, he said, ousted President Mohammed Morsi.
“Ultimately, though, this will be the Egyptians’ task,” he said.
President Obama has stopped short of calling the ouster a military coup, which would have implications for the aid that America sends to the country.
“We remain committed to the Egyptian people and their aspirations for democracy, economy opportunity, and dignity,” reads a Saturday statement from the White House. “But the future path of Egypt can only be determined by the Egyptian people. … We urge all Egyptian leaders to condemn the use of force and to prevent further violence among their supporters, just as we urge all those demonstrating to do so peacefully.”
Sens. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat, and John McCain, Arizona Republican, have said the U.S. should cut off aid to Egypt. Mr. Reed said Sunday the U.S. must be “very, very careful” about suspending aid or cutting it off, and Mr. Corker said that the aid issue is one that can be set aside for now while more pressing concerns are worked out.
Gehad el-Hadad, a spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood, told ABC it was most certainly a coup.
“It’s every ingredient of a full police state. I mean, what else are people waiting for?” he said. “There’s no Plan B. At the end of the day, we stick by our principles. We either return the president back to his rightful place, or they’re just going to have to shoot us in the street.”
Mohamed Tawfik, Egypt’s ambassador to the United States, appointed by Mr. Morsi, said that the Muslim Brotherhood must acknowledge the mistakes they have made and “join the process.”
Mr. Tawfik acknowledged that Mr. Morsi was democratically elected and said that he did his best to help Mr. Morsi succeed.
“But then, in the last two months, you have had a massive reaction from the Egyptian people,” Mr. Tawfik said on ABC’s “This Week.” “President Morsi did not act in the interests of the vast majority of Egyptians. He only looked at his own clique. You can’t be a democratically elected president and act that way. So now we want new elections; we’re going to get new elections … as soon as we possibly can.”
“We will not repeat President Morsi’s mistakes — we want an inclusive process,” he continued. “Egypt is not undergoing a military coup and is certainly not run by the military.”