Egypt recently shocked the world when the Middle Eastern nation’s courts decided to drop charges against former President Hosni Mubarak, who was previously charged for the killing of 239 protesters during the 2011 uprising against him. As general outrage over the dropped charges sweeps across the globe, the United States government seems to be pretty quiet on the issue. However, at a December 1st State Department briefing, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki had an embarrassing hot mic incident in which she acknowledges that the Egypt talking points are “ridiculous.”
The briefing was not going smoothly for Psaki after the Egypt topic brought on a fiery outpouring of questions by reporters. The question was initially brought up by Associated Press reporter Matt Lee. Lee simply asks if she had any reaction to the Egyptian court’s decision to drop charges against Mubarak. Psaki responds with what is obviously a pre-written response that she reads directly from a binder.
“Generally, we continue to believe that upholding impartial standards of accountability will advance the political consensus on which Egypt’s long-term stability and economic growth depends. But beyond that I would refer you to the Egyptian government for further comment.”
Lee was not buying that response and asked for further clarification of exactly what that meant. Psaki dances around the question and continues to say she has no further comment. However, the reporter refused to drop the topic. Lee seems shocked at the lack of response and says, “What you said says nothing.”
“Wow, I don’t understand that at all. What you said says nothing. It’s like saying,It’s like saying, ‘well we support the right of people to breathe.’ That’s great, but if you can’t breathe…”
Psaki continues on with her dodging of the question and the briefing continues. However, at the end of the briefing, the lights dim, and it is apparent that Psaki thinks her mic has been turned off. However, it was still hot and her words caused laughter in the crowd of reporters.
“That Egypt line is ridiculous.”
It seems everyone agrees with Psaki that the US State Department stance on Egypt is “ridiculous.” The question now is, will a new, pre-written response address the real issues surrounding the case? Or will the State Department continue to dance around the issue?