After President Barack Obama condemned Egypt’s interim government Thursday over bloody clashes with protesters that have left hundreds dead, lawmakers were quick to weigh in, despite the August recess that has taken both the commander in chief and Congress outside the Beltway for part of the month.
Republican and possible GOP presidential contender Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky slammed Obama for failing to cut off billions of dollars in aid that the U.S. government continues to send to the conflict-torn nation.
“The law is very clear when a coup d'état takes place, foreign aid must stop, regardless of the circumstances,” Paul said. “With more than 500 dead and thousands more injured this week alone, chaos only continues to grow in Egypt. So Mr. President, stop skirting the issue, follow the law, and cancel all foreign aid to Egypt."
Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the president was right to criticize the Egyptian military’s actions but that the administration should also urge calm from dissidents who are members of the Muslim Brotherhood.
“I appreciated much of what the president had to say, and while it reflected an arms-length disapproval of the military's actions, I wish he had stressed more clearly the need for the Muslim Brotherhood to also act responsibly. I hope the White House is actively working with other countries in the neighborhood behind the scenes to reduce tensions between the parties and get the democratic process back on track," said Corker.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi echoed the president’s condemnation of the “horrific” violence in Egypt and lauded the White House’s announcement that the United States will cancel a planned joint military operation with Egypt in protest over the bloody clashes.
"The President is right to strongly condemn the horrific violence in Egypt and to cancel the joint exercises with the Egyptian military,” she said. “The continued state of emergency must come to an end. It is clear that violence begets violence and only serves to move Egypt further away from an inclusive government that reflects the full participation of every part of Egyptian society.”