Politico

Trump says he wants Hatch to seek 8th Senate term

Written by Lisa

President Donald Trump said Monday that he is urging Sen. Orrin Hatch to seek reelection for an eighth six-year term.

Trump, visiting a Salt Lake City food bank operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, was asked Monday if he was encouraging Hatch (R-Utah) to run for reelection, to which he replied “yes.” Hatch traveled with the president to Utah aboard Air Force One on Monday and is expected to make the return flight to Washington with Trump as well.

Hatch also introduced the president at the Utah state capitol, where Trump delivered remarks announcing that he would reduce the size of two national monuments in the state, a cause the Utah senator has championed. After signing the order reducing the monuments’ size, Trump handed Hatch the pen.

“You are a true fighter, Orrin, I have to say. I’ve gotten to know him very well. I’ve gotten to know a lot of people very well. You meet fighters and you meet people who were thought they were fighters, but they’re not so good at fighting,” Trump said at the beginning of his remarks in the state capitol. “He’s a fighter. We hope you will continue to serve your state and the country and the senate for a very long time to come.”

Asked during his earlier visit to the food pantry about former 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, the man many assume would run to replace Hatch if he were to retire, Trump said, “He’s a good man, Mitt’s a good man.”

Trump’s brief exchange with the traveling press pool came as he toured the food pantry, accompanied by Mormon leaders, piling a bag of potatoes into a shopping cart and examining canned goods.

The president has privately expressed concern about the prospect of Romney, perhaps his most prominent Republican critic during the 2016 election, joining the Senate, POLITICO reported. Trump has enjoyed strong support from Hatch, the longest-serving member of the Senate, and would likely face a more contentious relationship with Romney, who was once among the candidates under consideration to be Trump’s secretary of state.

Romney has expressed frustration that Hatch, 83, has not ruled out a run for an eighth term, according to three Republicans who have spoken to him, in part because it was Hatch who urged him to consider running to replace him in the Senate.

The former Massachusetts governor, who was invited to Monday’s event at the state capitol but was out of town and could not attend, has told people in Utah that if he were elected to the Senate, he would not be reflexively opposed to Trump’s agenda but would speak out with criticism when merited.

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