As one Egyptian government minister after another resigned on Monday and Tuesday, President Barack Obama refused to withdraw his support for President Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood government, noting that they came to power in a “legitimate” election. Meanwhile, amidst massive protests, senior members of that government resigned–including, reportedly, Prime Minister Hisham Qandil.
President Obama called Morsi on Tuesday to express his concern about reports of violence and to urge Morsi to find a political solution to the crisis. In a statement, the White House stressed that it does not support any particular party in Egypt, but rather the democratic process. Meanwhile, Morsi himself has remained defiant, rejecting a 48-hour ultimatum issued by the Egyptian military on Monday.
The Obama administration’s careful insistence that it supports the Egyptian government but not the person or party in power is a clear attempt to walk back its earlier, and costly, opposition to the demonstrations. Last week, U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson said that the U.S. government discouraged the forthcoming protests, which quickly grew to become the largest political demonstration in the history of the world.
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