Trump, Sessions meet with Egyptian president, a key US ally in the fight against Islamic terrorism
NEW YORK — Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) accompanied Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump to his meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on Monday, evidencing the Alabama senator’s role as one of Mr. Trump’s most trusted confidants on foreign policy. Sen. Sessions serves as Chairman of Mr. Trump’s National Security Advisory Committee.
According to a readout of the meeting, “Mr. Trump expressed to President el-Sisi his strong support for Egypt’s war on terrorism, and how under a Trump Administration, the United States of America will be a loyal friend, not simply an ally, that Egypt can count on in the days and years ahead.”
Egypt has experienced two revolutions in recent years.
In 2011, Egyptians demanded the overthrow of then-President Hosni Mubarak, who had ruled for 30 years with support from the United States as a result of his suppression of extremist elements and his willingness to maintain peace with Israel. He was succeeded by Islamist Mohamed Morsi, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. Then-U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “provided Morsi with verbal support in the critical days leading up to [the presidential election],” noted National Review. Egyptians took to the streets again in 2013, pushing Morsi out and ultimately electing el-Sisi, a former military general, to the presidency.
Mr. Trump has pointed to Mrs. Clinton’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood-backed Morsi as evidence that her foreign policy credentials are far from the strong suit her campaign touts them to be.
In a release titled “Hillary’s Foreign Policy: A Before And After Look At The World,” the Trump campaign highlighted Egypt as a stable U.S. ally prior to Mrs. Clinton’s tenure atop the State Department.
The Egypt section of the release reads as follows:
Prior To Clinton Becoming Secretary Of State, The U.S. Had Normal Relations With Egypt. Between 1948 and 2011, the United States has given Egypt about $71.6 billion in bilateral military and economic aid. That’s more than we’ve given to any other country over that time frame save for Israel. A recent report from the Congressional Research Service lays out the details. The biggest chunk is military aid, averaging about $1.3 billion per year since 1987, with much of that military equipment. (Brad Plumer, “The U.S. gives Egypt $1.5 billion a year in aid. Here’s what it does,” The Washington Post , 7/9/13)
Egypt Wanted To Expand Bilateral Relations With The U.S. Prior To The Arab Spring. “Now, with Mubarak in Washington for the first time in five years, Egyptian media are hailing a new era of bilateral harmony between the world’s sole superpower and the country struggling to remain the Middle East’s political linchpin. He is expected to meet President Barack Obama on Tuesday morning. Mubarak’s pitch? A continuation of America’s hands-off policy and the US aid that has helped keep this impoverished nation afloat since the 1978 Camp David Accords in exchange for assisting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Egypt receives $2 billion in direct US aid annually, second only to Israel.” (Ashraf Khalil, “Mubarak Meets Obama To Patch Up US-Egypt Relationship,” The Christian Science Monitor, 8/18/2009)
With Sen. Sessions at his side on Monday, Mr. Trump “highlighted how Egypt and the U.S. share a common enemy and the importance of working together in defeating radical Islamic terrorism, not only politically and militarily, but also addressing the ideology.”
He also said he plans to extend an official invitation for President el-Sisi to visit the United States if he wins the presidency.
As for Sen. Sessions’ role in helping to develop Mr. Trump’s foreign policy, former Sessions staffer and current Trump senior advisor Stephen Miller said earlier this year that his decades of experience have proven to be invaluable.
“Sessions has been for twenty years on the Armed Service Committee” and “is one of the most respected members of the Senate,” he said. “Anyone who knows Jeff Sessions will tell you that he is the most straight-shooting, sincere, honest, and frankly apolitical person that you will ever meet in Washington.”