WASHINGTON — The White House Monday downplayed questions about whether Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi's power grab last week was timed to give him cover from Western criticism.
Morsi made his move to consolidate power in the days following the cease-fire in Gaza that he helped broker. At the time the Morsi government was basking in the glow of praise from the United States and other Western powers, and many have speculated he used it as cover for his power grab.
But the White House dismissed those concerns.
“We have some concerns about the decisions and declarations that were announced on November 22," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said, repeating the State Department line that was careful not to pressure the Egyptian president.
But Carney said Obama praised Morsi for his help in Gaza because he deserved it, saying Obama didn't feel "betrayed," as one reporter suggested, by the timing. “We see those as separate issues," he said.