McCain calls on Obama to 'condemn' Egyptian president's power grab

Arizona Sen. John McCain on Sunday called on President Obama to renounce Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s move to seize full control of the country, saying the president should “condemn” Morsi’s actions.

“First we must condemn it,” McCain, the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, told “Fox News Sunday.” “Then we can outline what actions might be taken.”

Morsi announced the power grab Thursday, just one day after he helped broker a cease-fire agreement in Israel between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Hamas in the Gaza strip.

“This kind of power is not acceptable to the United States,” McCain said. “Renounce the statement and the move that (Morsi) just made.”

The Obama administration on Friday asked Egypt to adopt a constitution complete with checks and balances.

“We call for calm and encourage all parties to work together and call for all Egyptians to resolve their differences over these important issues peacefully and through democratic dialogue,” said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.

The move by the Muslim Brotherhood-backed Morsi has sparked violent street protests, largely in Cairo, that have reportedly resulted in more than 500 injuries.

The protests are expected to continue, unraveling the stability brought after political protests ousted President Hosni Mubarak and this summer put Morsi into power.

Mursi’s attempt last week to consolidate power shields his efforts from the country’s judiciary branch, which he considers an unreformed part of the Mubarak era.

“One of the aspirations of the revolution was to ensure that power would not be overly concentrated in the hands of any one person or institution,” Nuland also said.

McCain said the United State has leverage in trying to persuade Morsi to step back because it provides Egypt with billions in financial aid, in addition to forgiving its debt and supporting an International Monetary Fund deal.