Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker said Sunday that it's time for the United States to "recalibrate" its relationship with the Egyptian military.
"At the end of the day, we've had the same kind of relationship with the Egyptian military for 18 years," Corker told "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace. "And I do think it's time for us to recalibrate it, as I've said many times."
Josh Earnest, deputy White House press secretary, said last week it is not in the best interests of the United States to reach a determination over whether the overthrow of former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi was a military coup, which would determine if aid will continue to Egypt's military.
Corker said there are "all kinds of machinations" about the aid and whether it's obligated, but "we have 11,000 military officials in the Egyptian military that have trained in the United States … certainly we want them to continue to function. We need to have a healthy relationship with the military there."
Even though Egypt's military has been fighting back against Muslim Brotherhood backers who want Morsi restored to power, Corker denied they have stepped over the top.
"I think all of us know that sometimes we try to move too quickly toward democracy and we think that elections make democracy occur," said Corker.
However, he said it's in the United States' national interests to keep a relationship with the Egyptian military, as "we have first priority in the Suez Canal."
New York Democratic Rep. Elliot Engel, agreed Sunday that the United States needs to work with Egypt's military, not against them.
"If I've got to choose a side, from the United States' point of view, between the Muslim Brotherhood and the military, I would certainly not choose the Muslim Brotherhood," said Engel. "We need to nudge the military towards democracy. We need to push them towards civilian rule."
Engel said that Morsi "was trying to destroy democracy in Egypt," even though he was elected to office. But he said the United States needs to look carefully at its interests in the region before making a decision to cut off aid to Egypt.
"They do give us over-flights over Egypt," he said. "They do put our ships in priority in the Suez Canal. They do have a peace treaty with Israel."
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