Republican Senator John McCain claimed on Friday that the Trump administration was in “disarray,” compromising the reassuring message that U.S. officials visiting Germany have sought to convey during their debut trip to Europe.
Known as an avid Trump critic, McCain told the Munich Security Conference that the resignation of the president’s national security advisor, General Michael Flynn, over his contacts with Russia reflected deep problems in Washington.
“I think that the Flynn issue obviously is something that shows that in many respects this administration is in disarray and they’ve got a lot of work to do,” McCain claimed.
“The president,” McCain added, “makes statements (and) on other occasions contradicts himself. So we’ve learned to watch what the president does as opposed to what he says.”
European governments have been unsettled by the signals sent by Trump on foreign policy issues regarding NATO, Russia, Iran, Israel and European integration.
Concerns of European leaders were somewhat assuaged during the first trip to Europe by Trump’s Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. The two administration officials attended a meeting of G20 counterparts in Bonn, Germany.
Mattis spoke to a group that included heads of state and more than 70 defense ministers, and affirmed that Trump backed NATO.
Vice President Mike Pence will address the Munich conference Saturday, reinforcing a message of reassurance. According to a senior White House foreign policy advisor, Pence will assert that Europe is an “indispensable partner” for the United States.
The Europeans may require further persuasion that Washington is aligned with them on a range of security issues.
“There is still a lot of uncertainty,” said Sebastian Kurz, Austria’s foreign minister. “The big topic in Munich is looking to the USA to see which developments to expect next.”
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