"I worry about the president's understanding of some of these issues and his contradictory articulations. And I think the rollout of the, quote, immigration reform was an example of a need for an orderly decision making process in the White House," McCain said.
JOHN MCCAIN:I was certainly referring to the threats that we are now facing with this, stated goals of this administration, which would upset the last 70 years of a new world order which was established after World War II. Seventy years based on human rights, respect for the law, free trade. All of the things, aspects of this world order that took place after one of the most horrific, terrible wars in history. And I'm for maintaining it. And I'm afraid that it's under assault from a variety of forces including, by the way, the Russians.
CHUCK TODD: You say a variety of forces. You're being careful here. Do you think the president agrees with you about the world order or not?
JOHN MCCAIN: I think many of his statements have been contradictory. Some of them have indicated that. I am very pleased with the national security team that he has around him, who are here in Munich, by the way, in General Mattis and General Kelly. I think that-- and the vice-president gave a very good speech today. But I worry about statements which upset our friends at a time when the strains on the European Union and Europeans are greater than they have been since any time since the end of the Cold War.
CHUCK TODD: Let me ask the question this way. How much confidence do you have in the current commander-in-chief?
JOHN MCCAIN: Well, I worry. I worry about the president's understanding of some of these issues and his contradictory articulations. And I think the rollout of the, quote, immigration reform was an example of a need for an orderly decision making process in the White House. And that I think is probably what's plaguing them more than anything else right now.
CHUCK TODD: You know, you've been-- you've taken extra care to say how much you like the president's national security team. Does that include what you've seen out of the National Security Council?
JOHN MCCAIN: I worry about the membership. There has never been a political advisor as a permanent member of the National Security Council. And in Mr. Bannon's role as both political advisor and member of the National Security Council, I'm very worried about. Former Secretary of Defense Gates has said he's deeply concerned. So has Leon Panetta and many others who view the National Security Council as apolitical and should not be influenced by any political influences.
CHUCK TODD: It's interesting you bring up Mr. Bannon. He calls himself an economic nationalist. When you hear that-- or how about this? When Europeans hear that, what do they hear?
JOHN MCCAIN: They feel uncertain about our trade relationships. They saw that we abandoned the TPP. They're facing the Brexit problem right now.
All this business with Vladimir Putin is very disturbing to all of us. To equate Vladimir Putin and the United States of America, as he was asked, you know, I guess it was Bill O'Reilly who said, "But Putin is a killer." And he basically said, "So are we." That moral equivalency is a contradiction of everything the United States has ever stood for in the 20th and 21st century.