NBC's chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel ripped the president for his outrageous and unexpected remarks.
Barack Obama’s assertion that he doesn’t consider Egypt an ally stunned NBC’s chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel. Engel, reporting from Cairo, tells Chuck Todd that he needed to “sit down” after hearing that statement. Engel reminds Todd that the US had two major Arab allies in the region when Obama took office, on which it spent a significant amount of foreign aid to keep it that way — Egypt and Saudi Arabia. If we’ve lost Egypt as an ally, Engel asks, wasn’t supporting the effort to overthrow Hosni Mubarak a huge mistake?
After accusing Mitt Romney of "shooting first, aiming later" -- in the very same interview -- the White House immediately attempted to walk back the president's diplomatic gaffe.
President Barack Obama didn't intend to signal any change in the U.S.-Egypt relationship last night when he said Egypt is not an "ally," the White House told The Cable today.
In an interview with Telemundo Wednesday night, Obama said that the U.S. relationship with the new Egyptian government was a "work in progress," and emphasized that the United States is counting on the government of Egypt to better protect the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, which was attacked by protesters on Sept. 11.
"I don't think that we would consider them an ally, but we don't consider them an enemy," Obama said. "They're a new government that is trying to find its way. They were democratically elected. I think that we are going to have to see how they respond to this incident."
That comment had Egypt watchers scratching their heads, especially since technically, Egypt was designated as a Major Non-NATO Ally in 1989 when Congress first passed the law creating that status, which gives them special privileges in cooperating with the United States, especially in the security and technology arenas.
White House spokesman Tommy Vietor told The Cable Thursday that the administration is not signaling a change in that status.
Talking about shooting first and acting later: remember "The Cambridge Police acted stupidly" statement?
Talk amongst yourself.