McCain’s call to release Brotherhood leadership validates the widespread belief in Egypt that America is a fellow conspirator with the Brotherhood. Egyptians believe the U.S. fears that Morsi and others, if tried, would reveal the nature of their cozy relationship with the U.S. government. This is believed to mean any number of ugly revelations — treasonous ties and conspiracies, the exchange of billions of dollars, and Sinai issues. Hence, McCain wants them freed. This belief seems all the more reasonable to Egyptians considering that in 2011, McCain said of the Muslim Brotherhood:

I think they are a radical group that first of all supports Sharia law; that in itself is anti-democratic — at least as far as women are concerned. They have been involved with other terrorist organizations and I believe that they should be specifically excluded from any transition government.

Recently, McCain personally visited Khairat al-Shater, the multi-millionaire deputy chief of the Brotherhood who is currently incarcerated on charges of treason and terrorism. Interestingly, Shatter was not even a member of Morsi’s government. Why is McCain visiting a civilian? Shater’s status as a major figure in the largest Islamist organization in the world is leading Egyptians to connect the dots. Even Shater himself, perhaps understanding the awful visuals, asked to visit “the legitimate president” Morsi as well.

U.S. media has said little aboutthe administration’s ties to al-Shater, however these ties are well-known among Egyptians: ambassador Anne Patterson was frequently seen going to Shater’s residence.

Egyptian media has also pointed out that McCain repeatedly dodged critical questions by Egyptian journalists at a press conference. When asked about the fact that the Brotherhood in Rab‘a was armed to the teeth, and — with the aid of al-Qaeda — was killing and terrorizing innocent Egyptians, McCain ignored the question. (Similarly, McCain has not answered as to why he is supports the jihadist rebellion in Syria, which has seen the slaughter and displacement of thousands of Christians, beheadings, and “legitimized rapes” by foreign jihadis. McCain is in favor of arming them.)

Many Egyptians are also wondering why McCain — as well as the Obama administration — is pushing for elections as soon as possible.  Such a rush contributed to the empowerment of the Brotherhood in the first place: once the long-entrenched Mubarak was removed from power, the only party that was organized and ready to campaign was the Brotherhood. Secular Egyptian parties wanted to postpone the 2012 elections in order to mobilize their campaigns, but the U.S. was adamant that Egypt hold elections immediately. When the military wished to perform a recount, citing irregularities in the elections — including widespread allegations of voter fraud by the Brotherhood — Hillary Clinton chastised them and called for a winner to be declared as soon as possible. This turned out to be Morsi, by a tiny margin — if that.

McCain’s remarks and actions in Egypt have further confirmed the popular narrative — as memorably displayed by countless anti-Brotherhood and anti-Obama placards raised during the June 30 revolution — that U.S. leadership is aligned with the Brotherhood, and thus ultimately a supporter of terrorism. Americans can no longer afford to ignore this serious accusation with broad implications.