McCain and Graham to push for democracy during Egypt trip

Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and John McCain (R-Ari.) will travel to Egypt to urge the country to hold new elections and reinstall a democracy after the military succeeded in overthrowing the elected Muslim Brotherhood government. 

Speaking Sunday on CNN’s "State of the Union," Graham said he and McCain would be making the trip “very soon” despite terror threats that provoked the State Department to close more than 20 diplomatic posts and issue a worldwide travel alert.

“I know it’s dangerous, but we need to be there with our diplomats giving a unified message to Egypt,” Graham said.

The South Carolina Republican said President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry called him and McCain and asked them to make the trip to urge the Egyptian military to hold new Democratic elections.

“The Egyptian military must move more aggressively toward moving control over to the civilian population….the military can’t keep running the country,” Graham said.

“The one thing that’s not sustainable is a military takeover of Egypt,” he added. “They’ve promised new elections and they need to deliver.”

Graham criticized the Muslim Brotherhood administration that the military recently removed from power, saying it needs to move the fight off the streets and “start playing politics.”

“The Brotherhood needs to get off the streets and back into the political arena and fight your differences there,” he said. “If this continues, Egypt is going to be a failed state and that’s why we’re going.”

“The Muslim Brotherhood needs to get off the streets so the economy can start anew and reorganize and have a political contest, not a contest of violence,” he continued. “I don’t want to abandon Egypt.”

Violent clashes have erupted in recent weeks between military forces and supporters of former President Mohamed Morsi, threatening to further destabilize the Mideast nation.

Some members of Congress, led by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), have pushed to end U.S. aid to Egypt following the ouster of the country's freely elected president. A growing number of senators have called the government overthrow a “coup,” which puts Egypt in breach of U.S. aid standards.

The White House has declined to label the overthrow, worrying that doing so would add further chaos to the situation.

Graham said he wants to keep aid flowing to Egypt, but only if the country “moves toward democracy, not a military dictatorship.”