Trump, Clinton, and Egypt

We are often asked what Egyptians think about current American politics and the presidential race. Our answer tends to fall into these categories:

  • Many hate Hillary Clinton due to her support for the Brotherhood.
  • Many think it doesn’t matter because US foreign policy never changes.
  • Many see in Donald Trump an American version of Middle Eastern demagogues.

This al-Monitor article provides a nice first preview, focusing on the views of certain political and business elites. As such, our category three is missing. But it is often helpful, and at the least entertaining, to see how they see us.

Here are a few excerpts:

Trump’s position on the Brotherhood has led to some voicing their support for him in Egypt, most notably well-known billionaire businessman Naguib Sawiris. In June, Sawiris confirmed that he backs Trump because, in his view, Clinton supports the Brotherhood.

During an interview with Al-Monitor, former Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy responded to a question about which candidate would be better for achieving cooperation with Egypt by saying, “The rhetoric adopted by US presidential candidate Donald Trump vis-a-vis Islam and Muslims is unacceptable and greatly offensive. On the other hand, Hillary Clinton carefully chooses her words and is a ‘veteran politician,’ with all the positive and negative connotations associated with such a characterization.”

Former deputy Foreign Minister Gamal Bayoumi said, “In superpowers like the United States, the president operates according to general policies set by state institutions and forces that have influence in political life. While the president may play a role in changing the approach, the policies remain fixed.”

In statements to Egyptian daily El-Balad June 9, Cairo’s former Ambassador in Washington Abdel Raouf El Reedy said that, overall, Clinton would be the better president for Egypt, despite her having what he called some unfavorable positions on Egypt and the Arab world. He noted that Clinton’s policies on Egypt and the Arabs would be an extension of Obama’s current policies, while attempting to avoid a repeat of the current president’s mistakes.

More testimony is needed, but will any of these voices sway your vote?

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