Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) voted against the creation of the holiday to honor King, and later defended Arizona Republican Governor Mecham's rescinding of the state holiday in honor of King created by his Democratic predecessor
Ronald Reagan was also opposed to the holiday. He threatened to veto the King Day bill but recanted only after Congress passed it with an overwhelming veto-proof majority (338 to 90 in the House of Representatives and 78 to 22 in the Senate)
god bless america
Senator Jesse Helms (R-North Carolina) led opposition to the bill and questioned whether King was important enough to receive such an honor. He also criticized King's opposition to the Vietnam War and accused him of espousing "action-oriented Marxism".