Donald Trump has been wooing the Republican from Utah, the longest-serving senator, Orrin Hatch. It was not so much because the president is fond of the the 83-year-old senator. The reason the president was pressuring Hatch to stay was that he fears the one politician who will take Hatch’s place.
Former governor of Massachusetts and 2012 presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, has been extremely critical of Trump. On the other hand, Hatch was a strong advocate of the sitting president. That may well have hurt the elder senator in his home state. A full 75 percent of the voters did not want him running for the Senate again.
Hatch will retire when his seventh term ends, and Romney will run for the seat. However, the former governor has been standing outside of the circle of Hatch’s day in order to let the man bask in the accolades. Romney is a traditional politician who can work on both sides of the aisle and criticize Trump without fear.
During Hatch’s retirement video, The New York Times reported the senator said:
‘When the president visited Utah last month, he said I was a fighter. I’ve always been a fighter. I was an amateur boxer in my youth, and I brought that fighting spirit with me to Washington. But every good fighter knows when to hang up the gloves. And for me, that time is soon approaching.’
Trump really wanted Hatch to stay on and flew him via Air Force One to the senator’s home state for a day designed to convince the senator to run for an eighth term.
Hatch continued in his retirement video, according to the New York Times:
‘Only in a nation like ours could someone like me — the scrappy son of a simple carpenter — grow up to become a United States senator. As your senator, I’ve always sought to fight for those who could not fight for themselves. And I believe the results speak for themselves.’
The senator has long wanted tax reform, so the Tax Cut and Jobs Act will let him leave office with that merit badge.
Privately, Hatch told the former governor he had not decided about running again. Romney moved back to Utah to establish residency. Utah Republican strategist and chair of Hatch’s political organization, David Hansen said Romney is very popular in the state:
‘It would be difficult to defeat Mitt Romney if he were running here.’
Longtime fundraiser, Spencer Zwick will join Romney’s team. He said:
‘Of all the people who can run, Mitt will represent and honor the legacy of Senator Hatch more than anybody. When there are things he agrees with him on, he’ll be a big supporter, and when there are things he disagrees with, he’ll voice that.’
Trump announced that he was going to take a great deal of Utah’s two large national monuments, to reverse Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton decisions. The Utah senator apparently asked the president to do so, and the citizens of the state were not happy with that choice.
During a Salt Lake City speech the president said:
‘(He hoped Hatch would) continue to serve your state and your country in the Senate for a very long time to come.’
After the tax measure signing, Hatch groveled:
‘(Trump is) one heck of a leader. We are going to make this the greatest presidency we have seen, not only in generations, but maybe ever.’
Romney has repeatedly called Trump “a fraud.” Trump said the new candidate “choked like a dog” in the 2012 race, but he invited him to dinner allegedly for secretary of state consideration. Although, this president never forgets a slight.
Featured Image via Getty Images.