POLITICS: PennAve

John Kerry aboard yacht 'briefly' during Egyptian coup

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Beltway Confidential,State,John Kerry,Egypt,Egyptian Revolution,PennAve,Sean Lengell,State Department

As a military coup rocked Egypt, Secretary of State John Kerry spent part of Wednesday aboard his yacht, the State Department said Friday — backpedaling on an earlier denial.

"While he was briefly on his boat on Wednesday, Secretary Kerry worked around the clock all day, including participating in the president's meeting with his national security council," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told several news outlets.

Psaki added that Kerry participated in phone calls that day with several foreign ministers and had multiple conversations with U.S. ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson.

On Wednesday, a CBS News producer tweeted that he had spotted Kerry aboard his yacht, the "Isabel," off Nantucket, Mass., where Kerry has a vacation home. Psaki initially denied the report, calling it "completely inaccurate" and said Kerry has been "working all day and on the phone dealing with the crisis in Egypt."

After the story gained traction, fueled in part by a Boston Herald photo of the secretary in a canoe on Nantucket Sound on Thursday, Psaki reversed course.

Critics were quick to jump on Kerry, accusing him of failing his responsibilities while the Egyptian military on Wednesday removed President Mohammed Morsi from power and installed a provisional government. Clashes erupted throughout Egypt Friday between Morsi's supporters and detractors and national security forces. An Egyptian Health Ministry official reported that 10 people were killed and 210 wounded in the fighting, the Associated Press reported.

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