Romney, 70, is viewed as a virtual lock to win if he chooses to run for the Senate seat (and Hatch doesn't), with hypothetical polls showing he'd beat his potential Democratic opponent in the heavily Republican, heavily Mormon state by an increasingly huge margin. But Trump reportedly put a wrench in that plan, telling Hatch over the phone, "Orrin, I really hope you will consider running again".
Romney has reportedly been mulling a Senate bid in Utah for some time, taking steps after the new year and last summer to up his presence in the Utah political scene. When Trump was asked if he wants Hatch to run for an eighth term in 2018, he replied, "Yes".
President Donald Trump said on Monday he wants U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah to run for re-election next year, putting Trump on a collision course with Republican rival Mitt Romney, who wants to run for Hatch's seat.
"Whether it's confirming judges, passing tax reform or accomplishing any part of his agenda, Hatch is a key player in getting anything done", Hatch spokesman Matt Whitlock said late Sunday.
President Donald Trump is taking steps to persuade longtime U.S. Sen.
"Mitt's a good man", Trump said, according to a pool report, when a reporter asked if he was trying to send the former nominee a message with his endorsement of Hatch.
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Romney, 70, a former governor of MA who spends a great deal of time in Utah, has been expecting to run for Hatch's seat in a state that Republicans typically win.
"There's widespread concern within the White House that Romney in the Senate could make Trump's life hard", reported Politico's Alex Isenstadt, noting Romney's vociferous condemnations of Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign. He's playing the members of the American public for suckers.
Such concern apparently exists outside the White House as well. The former MA governor's criticisms sparked rumors that he and a handful of never-Trumpers would seek to oust Trump at the Republican National Convention.
He charged that Trump's domestic policies would lead to recession and his foreign policies would make the world more unsafe.
Romney softened his opposition before the election, however, and was briefly considered to serve as Trump's secretary of state.