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POLITICS: White House

Jake Tapper: Obama learned extent of Egypt violence Thursday morning

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White House,Barack Obama,CNN,Egypt,Ashe Schow

CNN host Jake Tapper said President Obama's decision to speak about the violence in Egypt on Thursday came after a phone call that morning where he was informed about the severity of the situation.

Tapper said the news came from a senior White House official, who said Obama was briefed on the situation by National Security Adviser Susan Rice on Wednesday. Apparently, the woman who had blamed the September 11, 2012, attack on Benghazi on a Youtube video did not fully inform the president during his vacation about the violence taking place in Egypt.

"But this morning, the president had a phone call, a principals meeting with Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Secretary of State John Kerry, and the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper," Tapper wrote. "It was during that briefing that the president heard about the severity of the violence in Egypt. That conversation motivated him to come out Thursday, and call for calm."

So the current situation in Egypt, in which over 500 people have been killed and that has been all over the news the past two days is just reaching the president of the United States now?

"If Jake Tapper is right, then the president would be well-served to seek information from other sources besides Susan Rice, who somehow failed to recognize the attack on the Benghazi diplomatic mission as terrorism for many days after the attack last year," wrote James Phillips of The Heritage Foundation. "But he chose to promote her for her political loyalty despite her foreign policy errors."

Obama has not had the best track record when it comes to Egypt. His call for the removal of former President Hosni Mubarak helped usher in Mohamed Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

"I think the president realizes that what is going on in Egypt exposes the wishful thinking of his administration about the prospects for stable democracies emerging from the ashes of the 'Arab Spring' rebellions and he was in no hurry to admit that his administration once again is behind the curve in reacting to events," Phillips wrote.

Obama's response to the violence in Egypt consisted of ending a joint military exercise with Egypt. No efforts to cut aid were outlined.

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