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McCain calls Morsi ouster a coup d’etat, urges blocking aid

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Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) called the ouster of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi a coup d’etat and pressed the Obama administration to suspend aid to the country on Sunday.

"It was a coup and it was the second time in two and a half years that we have seen the military step in," McCain said on CBS's "Face the Nation." 

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"Reluctantly I believe that we have to suspend aid until such time as there is a new constitution and a free and fair election,” McCain added.

The Arizona senator who has been a tough critic of Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood party, stressed that he was not excusing the deposed leader’s missteps in office.

“Morsi was a terrible president, their economy is in terrible shape thanks to their policies but the fact is the United States should not be supporting this coup. And it's a tough call," McCain added. 

Morsi was removed from office by military leaders last week, following days of mass protests from opponents of his regime. But the move failed to settle tensions, with the Muslim Brotherhood vowing to restore him to power.

On Friday. over 30 were killed in clashes between Morsi supporters and opponents. 

The White House is declining to call Morsi’s removal a coup. Using that language could trigger laws which would block the U.S. from sending the $1.5 billion in annual aid provided to Egypt. 

On Saturday the Obama administration condemned the violence and denied charges that it was picking sides in the fight.

"The United States categorically rejects the false claims propagated by some in Egypt that we are working with specific political parties or movements to dictate how Egypt's transition should proceed," a White House statement said Saturday. "We remain committed to the Egyptian people and their aspirations for democracy, economy opportunity, and dignity.  But the future path of Egypt can only be determined by the Egyptian people."

On Sunday, Gehan El-Haddad, a spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood, urged the Obama administration to label Morsi's ouster and the military takeover of Egypt as a coup.

"I don’t understand what naivete can behold any person to see all the ingredients, political signs of a coup, and not see the coup," El-Haddad said on ABC's "This Week." "It's a military junta on TV, tanks on the streets, troops on protest. Military people shooting civilians. I mean it's every ingredient of a full police state. I mean what else are people waiting for?"