McCain running for reelection
© Getty Images

Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainDole to lie in state in Capitol Rotunda Bob Dole: A great leader of the 'Greatest Generation' The bully who pulls the levers of Trump's mind never learns MORE (R-Ariz.) will run for his sixth term in the Senate, he told NBC News in an interview posted late Monday night.

ADVERTISEMENT

"I'm ready. I am more than ready. In some ways, I am eager,” the former Republican presidential nominee told NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell.

“I think I have the knowledge and background to help the nation through very perilous times, and I believe that I can still contribute in many ways to the welfare and benefit of my state.”

McCain, a Vietnam veteran and former prisoner of war, is one of the strongest voices in the Republican Party on foreign policy. He’s parlayed that experience into serving as the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and has been a vocal critic of President Obama’s foreign and military policy.

"I have never been more concerned about the security of this nation because of the feckless leadership of the president of the United States," he said.

While some critics might point out that McCain wouldn’t complete his term until he turned 86, the longtime senator brushed away criticism about his age during the interview.

“Take a look at my 18-hour days. Take a look at the hearings we have. Take a look at my legislative accomplishments,” McCain said.

"I am happy to tell you my mother is 103 years old, and she is doing well.”

So far, no candidate has announced a challenge to McCain, but there’ve been grumblings among Tea Party supporters and other conservative Republicans that the senator needs to go. Club for Growth President David McIntosh said in February that he might support a primary challenge to McCain.

Reps. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) and David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) have both told The Hill they might be interested in a challenge.

McCain is a mainstay in the Senate, having served in the body since 1987 and in Congress since 1983. He helped shepherd campaign finance reform through the McCain-Feingold Act in 2002, although a number of those reforms have been since overturned by the Supreme Court, and helped develop the Senate’s 2013 comprehensive immigration plan as a member of the Gang of Eight.

He’s best known for his presidential bid in 2008, when he ultimately lost to Obama. And as the 2016 presidential election rolls around, he didn’t mince words about his old friend Hillary Clinton, whom he once took on in a vodka-drinking contest.

"I think that a legitimate question to Hillary Clinton is, 'What did you accomplish during your four years as secretary of State? Except that you visited more countries than any other previous secretary of State. What was your accomplishment?' " he asked.

"So far, I don't know what an answer to that would be."