Hatch, who is flying to Utah and back Monday with Trump on Air Force One, has been one of the president’s most loyal and outspoken supporters in the Senate.
Trump has been urging Hatch to run long before Romney entered the conversation, according to the senator’s office. Romney has reportedly been gearing up for a run, but now Hatch is dragging his feet – and Trump is encouraging him to run for an eighth term.
Another run would likely prevent former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney from campaigning for the seat, Politico reported Monday.
While he and Hatch toured a Salt Lake City food pantry alongside leaders of the Church of Latter Day Saints, Trump sidestepped questions of whether he was trying to block Romney from running, saying only “He’s a good man”.
The report also stated two senior administration officials who said Trump’s favor for Hatch is not only for blocking Romney, but also because Hatch defended the president during a turbulent time when an “Access Hollywood” video tape leaked, which showed the POTUS bragging about sexually assaulting women.
Hatch in April said he would “consider” retiring if Romney ran for his seat.
During the 2016 presidential primary race, he labeled Trump a fraud and a phony in a University of Utah speech. Trump previously said he is doing it for Hatch. Hatch has also stood by Trump through some of his most hard moments.
Hatch, the president pro tem of the Senate, recently tweeted that Trump is the best president he has served under in the line of succession. However, he’s also criticized Trump enough to get under his skin; Romney called on Trump to stay in the Paris climate agreement, blasted his response to the violence in Charlottesville, and undermined Trump’s response to the Roy Moore scandal.
According to Trump deputies, the president’s relationship with Hatch began before Romney planned of being Utah’s senator. The other opposes racism and bigotry.