President Donald Trump is reportedly working behind the scenes to convince Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch to run for an eighth term in 2018.
Another run would likely prevent former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney from campaigning for the seat, something Trump doesn’t want, sources close to Romney told Politico.
Trump will travel to Salt Lake City, Utah, Monday for official business, meeting with leaders of the Church of Latter Day Saints and giving a speech at the state capitol, which Politico suggests is a political move to encourage Hatch to stay in the Senate.
“Hatch is a known entity for Trump and has been really good for the president for the most part,” Kirk Jowers, former chairman and general counsel for Romney’s political action committee, told Politico.”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,” Jowers said.
Trump called Hatch in October and requested he run again, sources familiar with the call told Politico. “Orrin, I really hope you will consider running again,” Trump said, according to the source.
Romney has been considering a Senate run for months, but he may only seek for the GOP nomination if Hatch declines to run for another term. Romney has been public about his disagreements with Trump and is a key figure in the Never Trump movement, while Hatch was an early supporter of Trump during the 2016 campaign and has since defended Trump’s presidency.
“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,” Hatch said when asked about Trump’s retweets of videos of Muslim violence from fringe British political group Britain First. “He’s not afraid to take on the big boss around here,” Hatch said.
Hatch will accompany Trump on his trip to Salt Lake, to his meetings and the signing of an executive order that will reduce the size of the Bears Ears and Escalante national monuments.
Former Trump adviser Steven Bannon also is reportedly trying to keep Romney from running for Senate in his effort to keep establishment Republicans out of Washington.
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