Written by Saagar Enjeti, 06/24/2016
The Obama administration’s disappointment with the United Kingdom’s referendum on European Union membership contrasts sharply with its celebration of the Muslim Brotherhood’s election in 2012.
The Muslim Brotherhood is a long-known terrorist sympathizing party, its founders spawned the first terrorist attack against the World Trade Center in 1993. In reaction to the Muslim brotherhood’s election, President Barack Obama’s White House issued a statement of congratulations, saying the U.S. would “stand by the Egyptian people as they fulfill the promise of their revolution.”
Vice President Joe Biden, speaking before Trinity College in Dublin June 24, told the audience, “I must say we had looked for a different outcome.” Biden later elaborated, “reactionary politicians and demagogues peddling xenophobia, nationalism, and isolationism.”
Obama took the unprecedented step of traveling to the U.K. in April to advocate against the U.K. leaving the EU. During his trip, Obama warned the United States would prioritize trade deals with the EU over bilateral trade with the U.K. Speaking on the timeline for a prospective U.S.-U.K. trade agreement, Obama said, “It’s not going to happen anytime soon,” and further claimed “The U.K. is going to be in the back of the queue.”
During the Arab Spring, the White House did not take such a stark position during elections in Tunisia or Egypt. Prior to the elections of the terrorist sympathizing government in Egypt, Obama issued a statement saying, “The United States does not support particular individuals or political parties.”
Both Biden and Obama emphasized the administration’s “respect” for the referendum and America’s commitment to maintaining a “special relationship” with the U.K. Biden followed that commitment by saying, “some politicians find it convenient to scapegoat immigrants instead of welcoming them, play to our fears rather than appeal to our better natures, divide us based on religion or ethnicity rather than unite us in our common humanity, and build walls between nations when we should be building bridges among us.”