White House Resists Calling Egypt's Change of Government a 'Coup'

That designation would end aid to the country


The White House is taking its time to determine whether the overthrow of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi was a coup because of the potential fallout from calling it one, press secretary Jay Carney said Monday.

"I'm being very clear with you … this is a complex and difficult issue with significant consequences," Carney said during his daily briefing, the first since Egypt's military ousted Morsi nearly a week ago. Calling the action a coup could cut off more than $1.5 billion in annual U.S. foreign aid for Egypt.

But the Obama administration is reluctant to cut off aid. "We think it would not be in the best interests of the United States" to change its aid program at this time, Carney said. Asked if that would mean the administration would be cutting off aid in the near-term, Carney repeated his response: "we think that would not be in our best interests."