Coming up on an election year, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu stood by President Barack Obama on Thursday, saying she supports his condemnation of the violence in Egypt and his decision to cancel joint military exercises between the two countries planned for next month.
Landrieu, D-La., who is the chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, made her remarks during a tour of the LA-SAFE intelligence and security center housed at State Police headquarters in Baton Rouge.
“The violence is very disheartening. The United States has had a long and strong relationship with Egypt, (a partnership that has) promoted stability in the region,” Landrieu said. “This violence has got to stop. It’s not right. I support the president and the steps he took today calling on the Egyptian military to work this situation out peacefully.”
Landrieu added that the U.S. can’t stand by silently when “radical elements are running a country and violating democratic principals.”
Egypt’s death toll has risen to more than 600 people over the past few days as Egypt’s military regime has used violence against supporters of deposed Islamist President Mohammed Morsi taking aim particularly at Muslim Brotherhood protests in Cairo.
Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected president, was removed from power six weeks ago by the country’s armed forces, marking a return to the unrest Egypt saw two years after the ouster of Morsi’s predecessor Hosni Mubarak.
In a statement, Obama said he would like the U.S. to maintain its relationship with Egypt, but said “traditional cooperation” cannot continue amid the killing of civilians and other human rights abuses.
Obama added that the U.S. will not take political sides between the army-backed coup of Christians and moderate Muslims and the hard-line but popularly elected Muslim government.
Landrieu didn’t spend a long time talking about Egypt, instead using her time to tour Louisiana State Analytical and Fusion Exchange Center, also called the state Fusion Center.
The nondescript Mid-City building filled with vaults and secure-access doors is one of 78 Fusion Centers in the country.
They are places where local law enforcement officials work in tandem with federal agents to track criminal gangs and human traffickers and curtail possible terrorist activity.
Landrieu said Fusion Centers are places where law enforcement can coordinate resources to go after large criminal organizations and not just the “low-lying fruit.”
“I’m a strong supporter,” she said. “We need the resources on the ground.”