By Kristina Wong - 08/11/15 09:35 AM EDT
The Senate will have the 60 votes needed to vote down the Iran nuclear deal, says Chairman of the Armed Services Committee John McCain (R-Ariz.).
“I am confident we’re gonna get to 60,” said McCain in an interview Monday night on "The Hugh Hewitt Show."
Republicans will try to pass a resolution of disapproval that would prevent the deal from being implemented. The president is expected to veto that resolution, and a two-thirds majority would then be needed to overcome him.
“The key will be the override of the presidential veto. That’s where we gotta get 13 Democrats,” McCain said.
The president would need 34 Democrats to support the deal and sustain a veto. So far, 18 Democrats back the deal, and one — Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) — opposes it, according to The Hill's whip list.
The White House and groups against the deal are undergoing heavy lobbying efforts on each side. Lawmakers are also expected to speak to constituents at home during the August recess.
McCain said some of his have already come up to him to express opposition to the deal.
“That issue has penetrated, and my constituents are not really happy about it,” he said.
McCain also criticized President Obama for comparing Republicans and opponents of the deal to hardliners in Iran who are also against it.
“I think the president has demeaned and cheapened the Office of the presidency by that kind of comment on — it seems it is [immoral] to attack to those who disagree and characterize their opposition, which I believe is the correct political arena is all about," he said.
“That’s not presidential,” he said.
The Armed Services chairman also lamented that the Iran deal was not discussed much at the first Republican presidential debate last Thursday, but mentioned which candidates he felt did a good job, besides his friend Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).
“Well, obviously, Carly Fiorina, made a favorable impression on our list. I thought that [Sen.] Marco [Rubio (R-Fla.)] did a good job. He presents himself very well. I thought that [former Florida Gov. Jeb] Bush did pretty well,” he said.
McCain said attention on business executive and 2016 hopeful Donald Trump was preventing a more serious examination of the other candidates and national security issues.
“National security, I believe, will be the No. 1 issue in this campaign because by a year from November, my friend, things are gonna get a lot worse than before they’re gonna get better under this president,” he said.