President Obama today refused to call for Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi to step down, despite massive protests against the Muslim Brotherhood-backed leader that appear to exceed those that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak.
“It’s not our job to choose who Egypt’s leaders are,” Obama said today during a press conference in Dar es Salaam. “We do want to make sure all the voices are heard and it’s done in a peaceful way.”
And yet, Obama’s withdrawal of U.S. support for Mubarak in February 2011 was a key factor in causing the Egyptian leader to step down.
Mubarak was a strong ally of the United States. Morsi’s long term support for Egypt’s alliance with the United States is unclear.
Obama justified the difference in his approach by noting Morsi was democratically elected, asserting that his goal in 2011 was for Egypt to “transition” to democracy. Nevertheless, Obama added that “more work to be done to create the conditions in which people feel that all voices are being heard” in Egypt.