Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) issued a joint statement Friday urging the United States to suspend aid to Egypt, while slamming the Obama administration for what they said is a routine "failure" to use America's "influence to shape events" throughout the world.
The two senators traveled to Egypt earlier this month and, while there, predicted that the country was on the brink of unraveling. Earlier this week, amid widening chaos in Egypt, McCain took to Twitter to acknowledge that their prediction had come true.
“The massacre of civilians this week in Egypt has brought our longstanding relationship with that country to a fork in the road. The interim civilian government and security forces – backed up, unfortunately, by the military – are taking Egypt down a dark path, one that the United States cannot and should not travel with them.
“We condemn all acts and incitement of violence against civilians, including those that supporters of former president Mohamed Morsi have committed against Christians and other Egyptians. At the same time, we cannot be complicit in the mass slaughter of civilians. It is neither in our long-term national interest nor consistent with our values and laws to continue providing assistance at this time to Egypt’s interim government and military. We urge the Obama Administration to suspend U.S. assistance to Egypt and make clear to the current leadership of the country what steps we believe are necessary to halt Egypt’s descent into civil conflict and ultimately to restore our assistance relationship, which has historically served U.S. national security interests.
“This week’s horrific violence has only made the difficult goal of national reconciliation in Egypt even harder to achieve, but there is no decent or effective alternative to that process. Egyptians bear the responsibility for recent events in their country, and for its future. It is clear that most Egyptians do not want a radical Islamist government or a return to military rule. There are steps that all sides can take to save Egypt from a future of protracted instability and stagnation, but Egyptians must make these choices themselves.
“U.S. influence over events in Egypt, and the Middle East more broadly, has always been limited, but it is still considerable. Whether it is Egypt, Syria, Iraq, or the wider region, the failure of the Obama Administration to use our influence to shape events in this critical part of the world has only diminished our credibility, limited our influence, and constrained our policy options. The events now unfolding in Egypt and the Middle East will directly impact the national security interests of the United States, and we cannot remain disengaged.”