Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) told reporters this afternoon that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has been a “moderating influence” in the Middle East who has, at times, done his part to advance U.S. interests in the region, but admitted “those days are coming to an end.”
“It would be a mistake by the United States to not side with the Egyptian people’s legitimate hopes and desires to have a free and fair elections, to choose their own leaders and chart their own destiny,” he said.
But he cautioned the Egyptian people to “choose wisely” when selecting their future leaders. At one point, an animated Graham looked directly into the cameras and addressed the protesters themselves:
“You’re on the verge of creating a new beginning. I understand what you want because we assume it and accept it and almost take it for granted here,” he said. “The idea of being able to choose your leaders and live in a society where you don’t have to fear the police is something every American should stand behind.”
“But to the young women and young men in [Cairo’s Tahrir Square]: If you do have free and fair elections, I hope you’ll be wise enough and brave enough to say no to forces within your country — radical Islamic forces — that would take your future and make it as dark as it is today.”
“The Egyptian people not only have the right to form a new government, they have the responsibility to make sure it’s done in a way that most people like.”