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Boehner: Egyptian military 'did what they had to do'

Washington's top elected Republican, House Speaker John Boehner, expressed his support Monday for the Egyptian military's effort last week to topple the elected government of President Mohammed Morsi.

As the Obama administration and other lawmakers -- Democrats and Republicans alike -- delicately navigate how to respond to last week's coup in Egypt, the Ohio Republican largely welcomed the military's overthrow of Morsi.

"I think their military on behalf of the citizens did what they had to do in terms of replacing the elected president," Boehner said during a short availability on Capitol Hill.

The military sided with a popular uprising against Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood party last week, placing the president and his top deputies into custody. Their actions prompted outcries and threats of recriminations, though, from the Muslim Brotherhood.

Moreover, the military has yet to fully relinquish control of the government to civilian leaders, or outline a political process going forward that would allow a transition back to democratic rule.

The Obama administration has treaded lightly in its reaction, declining to officially designate the actions of the military as a "coup," which would require the U.S. to suspend its $1.5 billion annual aid to Egypt. White House press secretary Jay Carney said Monday that such a determination was "delicate," and that the White House thought that immediately ending aid would "not be in the best interest of the United States."

Other Republicans have differed. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said over the weekend that he considered the situation in Egypt to be a coup, and would favor suspending aid -- though the senator said he did so reluctantly.