Donald Trump's administration is in "disarray" and has “a lot of work to do”, a senior Republican figure has warned at a high-level meeting of defence and security chiefs in Germany.
Senator John McCain, an outspoken critic of the US President, said Mr Trump was prone to contradicting himself and said his remarks should not be taken at face value.
His warning was significant as other US officials speaking at the Munich Security Conference had sought to reassure America’s allies that the apparent chaos in Washington was being overblown.
It followed a day after Mr Trump insisted his administration was running like a "finely-tuned machine", amid a furore over the resignation of Michael Flynn as national security adviser.
"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," Mr McCain said.
"The president, I think, makes statements [and] on other occasions contradicts himself. So we've learned to watch what the president does as opposed to what he says.”
He acknowledged concern in Europe and beyond that America was "laying down the mantle of global leadership" and cited trends he found alarming, including anti-immigrant sentiment.
But Mr McCain urged those gathered at the summit not to give up on the United States.
"Make no mistake, my friends: These are dangerous times, but you should not count America out, and we should not count each other out," he said.
His comments follow remarks made by a senior Republican adviser who claimed there was something “deeply wrong” about Mr Trump, after watching his latest press conference.
"Something is deeply wrong with our president and the country is in danger," wrote Gabriel Schoenfeld, former adviser to Mitt Romney during the 2012 presidential campaign.
"The danger will only be averted when the Republican leadership in Congress publicly acknowledges what they and the rest of the entire world already know: America's president is not wearing any clothes."
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies