President Trump is doing everything he can to prevent Mitt Romney from running for U.S. Senate in Utah, even if it means keeping 83-year-old Orrin Hatch from enjoying retirement.
Hatch, who with seven terms under his belt is the longest-serving Republican senator in history, previously speculated publicly and told Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and 2012 Republican presidential nominee, that he should think about running for his seat, Romney friends told Politico. Romney started talking to Utah Republicans and preparing to run, but Hatch is now refusing to say if he'll retire, and several people tell Politico that's because Trump doesn't like the idea of Romney replacing him.
Senior administration officials said that while Trump does want to keep Romney out of the seat, he's also very fond of Hatch, who continued to support him even after the Access Hollywood tape was released last year, featuring Trump bragging about grabbing women by the genitals. Romney was in the running for Trump's secretary of state, but has been critical of the president, calling him a "phony" and a "fraud." That's a far cry from Hatch, who recently said Trump "has been one of the best presidents I've served under, and the reason is he's not afraid to make decisions." Trump will be able to work on Hatch most of Monday — they're flying on Air Force One together to Utah, where Trump will announce he's making two national monuments smaller. Catherine Garcia