Romney Breaks Silence On Hatch Retirement - Raises More Questions Than Answers

Orrin Hatch

Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the longest-serving Senate Republican, announced Tuesday he will retire at the end of the year, rebuffing the pleas of President Donald Trump to seek an eighth term and paving the way for Mitt Romney to run for the seat.

"I've always been a fighter".

"After much prayer and discussion with family and friends, I've made a decision to retire at the end of this term", Hatch, 83, said in a video posted on Twitter. "And for me, that time is soon approaching", Hatch said in a video statement posted on Twitter.

After Hatch helped spearhead the passage of the GOP's tax reform bill last month, he effusively praised Trump at a White House celebration, calling him "a heck of a leader" and predicting that his presidency would be "the greatest. not only in generations, but maybe ever".

2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney just dropped his biggest hint yet that he plans to run for Senate in Utah this year. "I was an amateur boxer in my youth, and I brought that fighting spirit with me to Washington", he said. In a very statesman-like way, Romney said Hatch "represented the interests of Utah" with honor and distinction. Romney, a Mormon with strong ties to Utah, called Trump a "phony" and a "fraud" during the 2016 election.

"The president, certainly, has the greatest and deepest amount of respect for Senator Hatch and his over four decades of experience in the Senate", White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters on Tuesday.

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