Friday, 15 December, 2017

Trump says he's encouraging Hatch to run for reelection

Trump says he's encouraging Hatch to run for reelection Greg Nash
Howard Terry | 05 December, 2017, 01:55

Donald Trump didn't become President of the United States by being politically ignorant.

"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". "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 traveled to Utah on Monday where he will deliver a speech about shrinking two national monuments designated by former President Obama.

Well, Romney can hardly be furious.

"Hatch is a known entity for Trump and has been really good for the president for the most part", Kirk Jowers, a friend of Romney who formerly chaired his political action committee, told Politico. "He's not afraid to take on the big boss around here", Hatch said. But when the press followed up with a question about whether Trump's enthusiasm for Hatch was meant to deter Romney, he demurred, replying, "He's a good man. Mitt's a good man". Not only does Trump have to convince Hatch to run again, but he also must work hard to get him over the finish line.

"Keep in mind that [Hatch] was the only person in Utah to stick with Trump through the campaign".

During a tour of the Latter-day Saints Church food services facility in Utah, Trump was asked if he was sending a message to Romney by encouraging Hatch to run for re-election.

Trump praised Hatch during the event and said he hopes the senator will "continue to serve your state and your country in the Senate for a very long time to come".

To a man who prioritizes loyalty above all, that fact would not go unnoticed. And, while plenty of Republicans have chosen to air their gripes with Trump in the public domain, Hatch has consistently elected to voice his grievances privately.

In discussions with almost a dozen friends, donors and former advisers, Romney has expressed strong interest in the post if Hatch were to retire. This is considered the defining moment that the "Never Trump" movement was born.

Romney, 70, is viewed as a virtual lock to win if he chooses to run for the Senate seat (and Hatch doesn't), with hypothetical polls showing he'd beat his potential Democratic opponent in the heavily Republican, heavily Mormon state by an increasingly huge margin.

According to the Washington Examiner, Bannon is considering endorsing Hatch - a Mitch McConnell loyalist who's been in D.C. since 1976 - though he can't stop declaring "war" on the GOP Establishment. "Mitt Romney has neither opened the door nor closed it".

"If Steve had a choice between Orrin Hatch and Mitt Romney, he would pick Hatch 10 times out of 10", the source close to Bannon told the Washington Examiner.

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