The day after Egypt's deadly clashes Sen. John McCain again called for President Mubarak to step down and said all options should be on the table if he doesn’t – including cutting off $1.5 billion worth of U.S. aid.
“I think we should have to obviously have all the options at hand. Obviously you don’t want to threaten something unless you are fully prepared to take that action,” McCain said.
Mubarak announced on Tuesday that he would not run for reelection in September. But that is not soon enough for thousands of protesters — and McCain.
“The time has come for him to arrange for a transition that has the army, pro-democracy elements and others in a transition government so we can have a free and fair and open election,” he told me. “The best opportunity for a pro-democracy government and not a radical Islamic government is an open and transparent process.”
The military was right to step in this morning, McCain said. He fears if the chaos continues “radical elements” could hijack the government and follow in the footsteps of Lebanon and Gaza.
“Sooner or later the lid blows off. That I think is the most likely scenario for radical Islamic governments to take place. I believe the people of Egypt are the most cultured, sophisticated group of people probably in the whole Middle East. It is the center of the Middle East and I have some confidence that a free and fair and transparent election we could respect the outcome,” he said.