The White House crisis response team convened for more than two hours on Saturday morning to discuss and strategize on the crisis in Egypt.
Tens of thousands continued to protest on Saturday, despite warnings from President Hosni Mubarak and a pledge to enact reforms.
Those present at the White House meeting included Vice President Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, Chief of Staff William Daley, chief counterterrorism adviser John Brennan, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, CIA Director Leon Panetta and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.
President Obama went to his daughter's basketball game on Saturday morning.
On early Saturday afternoon, Obama convened his national security team for about an hour to discuss the unrest.
"The President was updated on the situation in Egypt," the White House said in a statement. "He reiterated our focus on opposing violence and calling for restraint; supporting universal rights; and supporting concrete steps that advance political reform within Egypt."
Mubarak appointed a vice president for the first time in his nearly 30-year rule on Saturday, a former spy chief and ally of Mubarak. In his Friday evening TV address, Mubarak asked his cabinet to leave.
Neither move seemed to appease protesters, nor did State Department spokesman PJ Crowley seem impressed in a tweet Saturday: "The #Egyptian government can't reshuffle the deck and then stand pat. President #Mubarak's words pledging reform must be followed by action."
One of many protests around the globe, several hundred demonstrators protested in front of the Egyptian Embassy in Washington on Saturday afternoon.
According to participants, who stayed in contact via social media outlets Twitter and Facebook, the crowd chanted in Arabic and English in solidarity with protesters taking to the streets of Cairo.
The protest, promoted on Facebook by co-organizer Mohammad Abdeljaber, was a way to send a “message of support to the extraordinary courage and sacrifices of ordinary Egyptians, our action challenges employees of the Egyptian embassy to take the side of their people, particularly as the days of tyranny there appear to be numbered.”
During the afternoon demonstration in D.C., participants captured on cell cameras were chanting slogans including “Obama, Obama You should know … Mubarak has got to go.”
Homemade signs that read “Walk like an Egyptian” and “Mubarak – Game Over” were displayed prominently by protesters as well.
Meanwhile, on Friday, the U.S. State Department issued a travel warning for Egypt.
“While demonstrations have not been directed toward Westerners, U.S. citizens are urged to remain alert to local security developments and to be vigilant regarding their personal security. The U.S. Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to avoid all demonstrations, as even peaceful ones can quickly become unruly and a foreigner could become a target of harassment or worse,” an advisory posted on the State Department website warns.
Clinton was scheduled to appear on all five
major Sunday morning talk shows to discuss the U.S. response to the
unrest in Egypt.
This post was updated from an earlier version