by WorldTribune Staff, December 5, 2017
President Donald Trump has asked longtime Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch to consider running for an eighth term, in large part because Mitt Romney, the failed 2012 presidential candidate and a virulent “Never Trumper,” is said to be preparing to run for the seat should Hatch retire.
In a phone conversation with Hatch in October, Trump conveyed a request: “Orrin,” he said, “I really hope you will consider running again.”
The 83-year-old Hatch responded that he hadn’t yet made up his mind, Politico noted in a Dec. 3 report.
Hatch, who is 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,” Politico said.
“Their suspicions are warranted: Trump has sounded off to friends about how he doesn’t like the idea of a Sen. Romney.”
Hatch, who went all-in for Trump during the 2016 campaign, has also played a major role in moving Trump’s tax reform bill through the Senate.
“Hatch is a known entity for Trump and has been really good for the president for the most part,” said Kirk Jowers, a friend of Romney who formerly served as the chairman and general counsel of his political action committee. “He knows for a fact he’s not going to get that with Romney. 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.”
Romney was one of the leaders of the Republican establishment’s “Never Trump” faction, slamming candidate Trump as a “phony, a fraud” whose “promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University.”
“Romney has told people that while he wouldn’t be reflexively anti-Trump as a senator, he would be more than willing to let his criticisms be known,” Politico said.
Romney has me recently with several prominent Utah Republicans, including state House Speaker Greg Hughes.
“I think he could be a great ally of the president but, as you well know, they’re very different people and have very different personalities,” said Hughes. “Sen. Hatch understands the president very well.”
For his part, Hatch said of Trump: “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. He’s not afraid to take on the big boss around here.”