Outgoing White House spokesman Robert Gibbs today indicated that President Obama was growing “very concerned” about Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s attempts to delay his departure from office, and that the US government no longer considers a September departure acceptable.
The comments were a stark but welcome change to the administration’s previous comments, which suggested that they envisioned Mubarak retaining power but making some “reforms” to placate the growing protest rallies. There is no longer any indication that the administration believes Mubarak’s regime, a long-time US ally, can be saved.
“The Egyptians don’t want to see appointments. They don’t want to hear speeches,” Gibbs warned, adding that Mubarak had to take “concrete action” and that “now means now.”
State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley, who was among the first to oppose the notion of free elections in Egypt, also appears to have come on board, insisting that “more needs to be done” and that “it is imperative that this process begins now.”
Exactly what the administration is envisioning at this point is unclear, though they are at the very least resigned to Mubarak’s ouster now. It still seems the references to “concrete action” and admonishments to “do more” stop well short of Mubarak’s immediate resignation and fleeing into exile, which is what the protesters are holding out for.
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