Trump says he's encouraging Hatch to run for reelection

Frederick Owens
December 5, 2017

Trump also encouraged Hatch to seek re-election in March, before the prospect of Romney's potential Senate run had even cropped up.

The president's mostly behind-the-scenes campaign to sway Hatch will burst into public view on Monday, when he arrives in Salt Lake City to hold a well-choreographed event created to showcase his affection for the powerful Senate Finance Committee chairman.

The former MA governor was reportedly seriously considering running for Senate in his new home state of Utah, under the condition that the state's longtime senator, Orrin Hatch, decided not to run for re-election in 2018. Asked if he was trying to send a message to Romney that he doesn't want him to make a bid for Hatch's seat, which the senator has held since 1977, Trump said Romney's "a good man. Mitt's a good man".

"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.

"Romney has been preparing to run for Hatch's seat on the long-held assumption that the 83-year-old would retire", Isenstadt wrote.

Trump called Hatch in October to and requested he run again, sources familiar with the call told Politico. In poll conducted two months ago, 75 percent of Utahns said Hatch should not run again, and Hatch came in third in a theoretical 2018 Senate race.

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During his visit to Utah, Trump admitted that he was encouraging Hatch to run for reelection. "Yet Hatch, the longest-serving Republican senator in history, is now refusing to rule out another campaign - a circumstance Romney's infuriated inner circle blames squarely on the president".

Trump said on Monday that he hopes seven-term Utah Sen. Although many thought Romney may have looked the part, he did not get the top job at Foggy Bottom. After Trump retweeted Islamophobic videos last week, Hatch said he wasn't "aware" of the controversy, then offered some general praise: "I'll say this for ya.' He's been one of the best presidents I've served under, and the reason is he's not afraid to make decisions".

There's been less coverage of Trump's affinity for Senator Hatch, but it's similarly easy to understand.

But Hatch is also a fan of Romney's.

Hatch, coming off a big win after the tax reform bill drafted by his committee cleared the Senate on Friday, shared a round-trip flight with the president on Air Force One on Monday. At the time, Hatch told Trump that he hadn't yet made up his mind.

Trump tweeted the clip soon after.

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