In an interview conducted this week, President Barack Obama described the actions of 47 U.S. Senators who took a public stand against his Iran policy as embarrassing.
"I'm embarrassed for them," he told Vice News. "For them to address a letter to the ayatollah ... who they claim is our mortal enemy, and their basic argument to them is, don't deal with our president because you can't trust him to follow through on an agreement -that's close to unprecedented," Obama stated.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), along with 46 other U.S. Senators, made headlines last weeek when they signed their names to a letter addressed to the “Leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” warning that any nuclear deal made with president Barack Obama would become void as soon as his presidential term expires.
"The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen, and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time,” the letter read.
The Obama administration would like to make a deal with Iran that would lift U.S.-imposed sanctions if certain requirements are met. The Senators who penned the letter argue that the Obama administration has no right to make decisions without approval from congress.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham told Fox News this much.
“At the end of the day, I want the ayatollah to understand that our president doesn’t have the ability on his own to waive congressional sanctions without our input and he is claiming he has that right," he said.
"This is a constitutional crisis in the making. No Senate or House should ever let any president do away with congressional sanctions created by the bodies without their approval.
Vice President Joe Biden firmly disagrees. He released a statement saying, "In thirty-six years in the United States Senate, I cannot recall another instance in which senators wrote directly to advise another country — much less a longtime foreign adversary — that the president does not have the constitutional authority to reach a meaningful understanding with them."
Biden went on to say "The decision to undercut our president and circumvent our constitutional system offends me as a matter of principle.”
Democratic leader Harry Reid also condemned the letter.
“Let's be very clear: Republicans are undermining our commander-in-chief while empowering the ayatollahs," he said during Monday's Senate meeting.
"Republicans don't know how to do anything other than juvenile political attacks against the president."
For their part, Republicans seem completely unconcerned about the President’s reaction to their letter. At this point all eyes are on public polls – and it remains to be seen how the general population feels about what has transpired.