By Julian Pecquet - 08/01/13 08:04 PM EDT
Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday tacitly endorsed the Egyptian army's overthrow of freely elected President Mohamed Morsi, breaking with the Obama administration's position of not taking sides.
“In effect, they were restoring democracy,” Kerry told Pakistan's Geo News television station. “The military did not take over, to the best of our judgment — so far, so far – to run the country. There's a civilian government.”
The remarks during a visit to Pakistan run counter to previous statements in which the administration has avoided taking sides in the fight between Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood supporters and opponents who toppled him on July 3 with the aid of the military. The State Department said last week that it would not weigh in on whether Morsi's ouster amounts to a coup, which would automatically freeze $1.5 billion in annual U.S. aid to the country.
“He did not stick to the script,” a U.S. official told The Wall Street Journal.
Lawmakers have vowed to revisit laws governing aid to Egypt next month in the wake of what many say was undeniably a military coup. Despite bipartisan concerns about the administration's decision to ignore the label, legislation from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) to cut off the aid went down in flames on Wednesday, 86-13.