State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told Matt Lee of the Associated Press Tuesday that the U.S. had “determined that we do not need to make a determination” over whether or not the ousting of Mohamed Morsi in Egypt was a coup.
Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) called it a coup Tuesday, but the Obama administration has deliberately avoided using the word:
LEE: In response to the first question about Senator McCain’s comments, you gave — you said, our position has not changed, as you just did with Morsi. On McCain’s comments, though, our position has not changed — then you said the U.S. government has stated what our position is. Could you remind us all of what your position actually is? Because as I recall, your position was that you don’t have a position, and that’s not quite — is that correct?
PSAKI: Matt, I think you know our position, which is that —
LEE: I — tell me.
PSAKI: There was a determination made that we need to — not need to make a designation.
LEE: So then — so your position is that you do not have a position, correct?
PSAKI: Our position is that we do not need to make a designation. Mmm hmm — oh, go ahead, Nicolas (sp).
Q: Yeah, does Deputy Secretary Burns plan to meet with President Morsi? We talked about it yesterday, but —
PSAKI: I don’t have any other plans for that on his schedule.
LEE: Can I just go back to your answer to my question?
LEE: You do understand that you don’t have a position on this, don’t you?
PSAKI: We have not made a determination —
LEE: But don’t — you go and say, our position has not changed, but you don’t have a position. You don’t have a position that could — a position means taking a side or taking a stance or making a determination. And since you didn’t do that, you do not, by definition, have a position.
PSAKI: We have —
PSAKI: I would disagree with you, Matt.
LEE: You have a position on whether what happened in Egypt was a coup?
PSAKI: We have determined that we do not need to make a determination.
LEE: Isn’t that the same as not having a position?
PSAKI: I will — I will let you parse yourself.