Are we in Groundhog Day mode now? We just finished up with the last round of media accusations against President Trump for congratulating Vladimir Putin on his election victory, such as it was. Conservative media outlets quickly pointed out that Barack Obama had done the same thing, raising virtually no eyebrows in the MSM. So this morning, when I flipped on the TV, I heard some MSNBC anchors sounding all aghast at the President’s congratulatory call to yet another leader. This time it was Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.
Oh, boy, I thought. Here we go again. A quick look online showed that the Washington Post had already picked up on the same theme.
President Trump congratulated Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi on his landslide reelection victory, the White House said Monday — an election critics derided as a sham that all but guaranteed al-Sissi a second term in office.
The statement is another signal of the Trump administration’s stated goal to improve relations with Egypt after Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, declined to invite Sissi to the White House because of concerns about his human rights record. It comes shortly after Trump faced widespread pushback for congratulating another foreign leader, Russian President Vladimir Putin, who similarly won a race that was broadly criticized as neither free nor fair.
Surely this call to al-Sissi must have been unique in recent American presidential history, right? I mean, the media couldn’t stick the exact same foot in their collective mouth twice in a row. Could they? Yes, Obama declined to invite al-Sissi to the White House, but Trump isn’t inviting him either. We’re talking about a congratulatory phone call.
And yes, sports fans… that phone call was made last time. To be fair to MSNBC and the WaPo, maybe they’ve never heard of Google. Because if they had, they’d see the same story about Obama (yet again) from al-Sissi’s last election, without a hint of criticism. (Reuters)
President Barack Obama called new Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Tuesday and affirmed their commitment to a U.S.-Egyptian strategic partnership, the White House said.
Sisi was sworn in on Sunday, almost a year after toppling elected President Mohamed Mursi, an ouster that Obama resisted calling a coup because it would have prompted Washington to cut off assistance to Egypt.
The White House said Obama called Sisi to congratulate him on his inauguration and “to convey his commitment to working together to advance the shared interests of both countries.”
If you want to complain about the likely corrupt nature of Egypt’s recent elections or the dodgy nature of the al-Sissi administration, feel free. There’s plenty to criticize. Ever since the revolution in 2011 and the ouster of Hosni Mubarak the place has been a mess. There’s always a lingering question of whether the country is being run by the military or the “elected” choice of the people. Their human rights record is terrible and journalists have been imprisoned, beaten and even sexually assaulted while trying to cover stories inside the country.
But that’s been true for at least the better part of a decade now (and much longer if we’re to be honest). It’s not as if Egypt was a shining beacon of democracy, freedom and hope until the moment Barack Obama left office and then turned into a craphole when Trump was sworn in (to paraphrase the new president). If you’re going to bash Trump for calling and congratulating al-Sissi on his “victory” then at least stop to pull the log out of your own eye and explain why it was all fine and dandy when his predecessor did it.