Trump Says He's Encouraging Orrin Hatch To Run For Another Senate Term

President Trump stopped to speak to reporters as he left the White House Monday for Utah. He's taking Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch with him on board Air Force One signaling he'd rather see Hatch seek re-election than Mitt Romney run for Hatch's seat

President Trump stopped to speak to reporters as he left the White House Monday for Utah. He's taking Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch with him on board Air Force One signaling he'd rather see Hatch seek re-election than Mitt Romney run for Hatch's seat

President Donald Trump is aiming to block Republican and former presidential candidate Mitt Romney's run for Utah's senator by trying to convince seven-term state Sen.

Hatch, the second senator to endorse Trump during the presidential campaign, has said he's running again but has not announced a final decision.

They insist Romney, who relocated to Utah after losing the 2012 presidential election, would consider running only if Hatch retires, according to two people close to Romney.

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.

Trump's support might have less to do with Hatch, however, than with a secret desire to block Mitt Romney from serving in the Senate.

Mitt Romney famously got dinner at Jean Georges restaurant in New York with President-elect Donald Trump as Trump was considering Romney to be his secretary of state
Trump Says He's Encouraging Orrin Hatch To Run For Another Senate Term

Privately, he said he would prioritize stopping Romney, even if it meant backing Hatch, who entered the Senate in 1977. But suddenly backed by Trump, Hatch seems to be leaning in another direction.

Trump will travel to Salt Lake City, Utah, Monday for official business, to meet with leaders of the Church of Latter Day Saints and give a speech at the state capitol, which Politico suggests is a political move to encourage Hatch to stay in the Senate. Hatch, at the time, said he would consider stepping down if the former governor were willing to make a bid for the seat, according to reports. Either way, Trump-not to mention his former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who is allegedly considering a Hatch endorsement-may not have much of a choice in the matter.

"You are a true fighter, Orrin, I have to say", Trump said at an event in Salt Lake City, Utah's capital.

Trump called Hatch "a very special man" on Monday. "His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University", Romney said.

In August, after Trump said there was blame on both sides for violence stemming from a rally of white supremacists and Nazi sympathizers in Charlottesville, West Virginia, Romney said the president needed to apologize.

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