Published: Tue, December 05, 2017
Global | By Shelia Dennis

Trump says he wants Senator Orrin Hatch to seek re-election in Utah

Trump says he wants Senator Orrin Hatch to seek re-election in Utah

President Donald Trump began a Monday speech at the Utah State Capitol by showering praise on Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah to run for an eighth term.

"If I could get a really outstanding person to run for my position, I might very well consider [retiring]", Hatch said, adding, "Mitt Romney would be ideal".

Hatch's future in the upper chamber has been the subject of huge speculation because his departure would open up his seat to other prominent Republicans in the state - primarily former 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

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But the two will fly together on Air Force One to Salt Lake City on Monday where the president is expected to slash the sizes of Bear Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments. As chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Hatch was instrumental in developing the GOP tax bill that recently passed the Senate and appears likely to reach the president's desk in some form.

Monday's visit is the culmination of recent complimentary exchanges between Trump and Hatch. Their suspicions are warranted: Trump has sounded off to friends about how he doesn't like the idea of a Senator Romney. "We hope you will continue to serve your state and your country in the Senate for a very long time to come", he said.

"There's widespread concern within the White House that Romney in the Senate could make Trump's life hard", reported Politico's Alex Isenstadt, noting Romney's vociferous condemnations of Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign. "He's not afraid to take on the big boss around here". Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, to run for re-election in Utah, causing some to speculate the president wants to block former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney from seeking election for the seat, Politico reported Sunday.

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Despite the Breitbart chairman's declarations of "war" against the Republican establishment, Hatch - the longest serving current Republican senator and "ally" to Senate Majority Leader (and Breitbart nemesis) Mitch McConnell - is a more preferable choice than Romney.

Asked if he was sending a message to Mitt Romney that he doesn't want him to run for Hatch's seat, Trump paused and then said, "He's a good man. Mitt's a good man", according to a pool report. Although many thought Romney may have looked the part, he did not get the top job at Foggy Bottom. "I don't know that he knows what he's going to get with Romney, but it's not going to be what he's got with Hatch". Just last week, when Trump was under fire for retweeting anti-Muslim videos posted by the fringe-right group Britain First, Hatch said Trump was one of the best presidents he's served under. Trump later thanked Hatch on Twitter saying, "Let's continue to make America great again!"

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