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Trump urges Hatch to run for reelection as speculation about Romney swirls

Trump urges Hatch to run for reelection as speculation about Romney swirls

President Trump is traveling to Utah Monday on official business, but the backstory of his visit is preventing Mitt Romney running for Senate, according to Politico.

Donald Trump and Orrin Hatch. One source familiar with his thinking said Romney is "mentally there" in terms of being willing to run, but is waiting for Hatch to decide. "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".

A White House official to Trump acknowledged on Monday that there is no love lost between Trump and Romney but said the idea that the President is pushing Hatch to run again because he wants to thwart the former MA governor is wrong.

Well, Romney can hardly be furious. It also relates to the tangible sense of loyalty Trump holds for Hatch, with the latter standing by him despite the Utah Republican delegation's withdrawal of support following "Access Hollywood" tape episode late in the 2016 campaign.

A spokesman for Hatch says the senator plans to announce a final decision by the end of the year. Asked if he was trying to send a message to Romney that he doesn't want him to make a bid for Hatch's seat, which the senator has held since 1977, Trump said Romney's "a good man. Mitt's a good man".

Since then Romney has only criticized Trump in public after the President's remarks creating a moral equivalence between neo-Nazis and their opponents after the racial violence in Charlottesville, Va., in August.

During a speech at the Utah State Capitol shortly after, Trump praised Hatch, saying, "We hope you will continue to serve your state and the country in the Senate for a very long time to come".

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The future of Hatch, who is 83, has dominated political chatter in Utah and has sparked much behind-the-scenes maneuvering.

Romney has been a critic of Trump's when he ran for president and since he assumed office.

In March, Hatch told CNN that Trump was urging him to run again.

At another event, Trump mouthed "yes" when asked whether he wanted Hatch to run again in 2018 while pushing a shopping cart through The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Welfare Square as he purported to look for tuna.

In discussions with almost a dozen friends, donors and former advisers, Romney has expressed strong interest in the post if Hatch were to retire. The victor by far: Mitt Romney. "He gets a free ride to the White House and all we get is a lousy hat", he added.

"If Steve had a choice between Orrin Hatch and Mitt Romney, he would pick Hatch 10 times out of 10", an unnamed source close to Bannon told the Examiner. Although many thought Romney may have looked the part, he did not get the top job at Foggy Bottom.


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