1. The people asked for it. The military “perceived” a mandate from “the movement and voices of the masses,” based on their street protests against President Mohamed Morsi, according to Sissi. “Such is the message received by the Armed Forces from every urban and rural corner of Egypt.” ElBaradei tells the New York Times, “We did not have a recall process. People ask for the recall process with their feet in Tahrir Square.” Mansour says he has come to power “through the trust of the revolutionaries in the square.” Amr says “this is not a military coup in any way. This was actually the overwhelming will of the people.” Tawfik tells Foreign Policy that “the people have made a very clear choice.” What about the election in which the people voted Morsi into office? “The ballot box is not a blank check,” says Tawfik. Of course not. A blank check is when you claim street protests as your authority to erase elections.

2. The people refused to compromise with the president. Morsi’s response to the protests “neither met nor conformed to the demands of the masses,” says Sissi. And who spoke for the masses in this purported dialogue? According to Morsi’s advisers, as paraphrased by the Times, Sisi “initially considered the concessions adequate but then returned to say that the political opposition had rejected them.” Morsi really was a bad president. But there was no time to wait for a plebiscite, so Sisi and the opposition skipped that part.

3. We represent everyone. At a press conference announcing the non-coup, Sissi stood with ElBaradei, other political leaders, and religious figures. The general said the army had acted after “consultation with national and political powers and youths” in pursuit of “national reconciliation among all political powers.” ElBaradei says the non-coup’s supporters are “sending a message of reconciliation and an inclusive approach.” Amr agrees: “The idea is to have everybody participating in the transitional process.” What about Morsi and his supporters? They’ll get to participate, too, in some unspecified way, with no stated schedule for the prosecution of their leaders or restoration of their media outlets. But for now, their victory in the election has to be voided, since Morsi “declined” the military’s pre-coup “call for a national dialogue.”