On Sunday, U.S. Sen. John McCain talked about the “new world order” established after World War II and how he is fearful it is under assault from a variety of forces.
McCain also said he’s concerned about presidential advisor Steve Bannon’s role on the National Security Council. He also talked about President Donald Trump’s comment making a moral equivalency between Vladimir Putin and the United States goes against everything the U.S. stands for.
McCain also said a free press is vital, and said suppressing a free press is “how dictators get started.”
(On his speech in Munich on Friday)
JOHN MCCAIN: I was certainly referring to the threats that we are now facing with the stated goals of this administration, which would upset the last 70 years of a new world order which was established after World War II. 70 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: Do you think the president agrees with you about the world order or not?
MCCAIN: I think many of his statements have been contradictory. Some of them have indicated that.
TODD: How much confidence do you have in the current commander-in-chief?
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.
(On the National Security Council)
MCCAIN: 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.
MCCAIN: 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.
(On the president's tweet about the "fake news media")
MCCAIN: A fundamental part of that new world order was a free press. I hate the press. I hate you especially. But the fact is we need you. We need a free press. We must have it. It's vital. If you want to preserve- I'm very serious now- if you want to preserve democracy as we know it, you have to have a free and many times adversarial press. And without it, I am afraid that we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time. That's how dictators get started.
TODD: That's how dictators get started, with tweets like that?
MCCAIN: No. They get started by suppressing free press. In other words, a consolidation of power when you look at history, the first thing that dictators do is shut down the press. And I'm not saying that President Trump is trying to be a dictator. I'm just saying we need to learn the lessons of history.