"If you want a different relationship, you have to articulate what that looks like, and accept you are going to have to give up some things to get other things."
'A really tough dilemma'
From the Obama administration's side, it's an "incredibly complex and difficult situation" that will require more time to figure out.
That's what White House spokesman Jay Carney said in July soon after Morsy was ousted, and reporters pressed him as to why the administration wasn't calling it a coup.
"It would not be in the best interests of the United States to immediately change our assistance programs" to Egypt, Carney said at the time.
Middle East analyst Robin Wright with the Wilson Center says the core issue is what our policy ought to be.
"The United States faces a really tough dilemma now," she said. "What to do about the most important country in the Arab world, the cornerstone of the peace process, a country that has received over $30 billion in U.S. aid since the peace process began in the late 1970s."
Some in Congress, including Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, already have called for halting the aid, saying the United States "should not be supporting this coup." McCain traveled to Egypt on August 5 along with Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. Both held meetings with representatives of the interim government and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has said the United States hasn't committed much of this year's aid -- and that's a good thing.
"This is an opportunity to have a pause and say to the Egyptians, 'You have an opportunity to come together,' " he said. "You have to have the military understand that that's what we're looking for, a transition right away, as soon as possible."
According to senior U.S. officials last month, the administration is examining three potential options:
-- Call it a coup and cut off aid.
-- Call it a coup and issue a national security waiver to allow aid to continue.
-- Don't call it a coup because the Egyptian military has taken steps to move the country toward a civilian transitional government and subsequent elections.
Now, officials -- both current and former -- recognize the climate is not encouraging.
'Time to call it a coup'
"I think it is time to call it a coup. I think it was time six weeks ago," former Assistant Secretary of State P.J. Crowley said Wednesday.
"Suspend military assistance so the military is invested in the process of rewriting the constitution, setting the parliament and electing a new president."