By Justin Sink - 08/16/13 01:58 PM EDT
Obama gave his first remarks in the crisis Thursday from Martha's Vineyard, where's he's vacationing with his family, announcing the U.S. would cancel joint military exercises planned for September in response to the crackdown.
He said further violence could lead to the revocation of $1.3 billion in annual aid.
“While we want to sustain our relationship with Egypt, our traditional cooperation cannot continue as usual when civilians are being killed in the streets and rights are being rolled back,” Obama said.
“As a result, this morning, we notified the Egyptian government that we are canceling our biannual joint military exercise, which was scheduled for next month.”
The violence has created a difficult diplomatic conundrum for the Obama Administration, with critics calling on the president to declare Morsi's ouster a coup. Doing so would result in the immediate revocation of aid, an important tool in maintaining American influence in Egypt and across the region. But in continuing to fund the regime, the White House risks aiding military leaders who are violently cracking down on Egyptians demonstrating on behalf of a democratically elected president.
“Going forward, I've asked my national security team to assess the implications of the actions taken by the interim government and further steps that we may take as necessary with respect to the U.S.-Egyptian relationship” Obama said Thursday.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Thursday that the president's "foreign policy is not working.”
“From Benghazi to Cairo to Damascus to Baghdad we're failing across the board,” Graham tweeted.