Trump says he wants Senator Orrin Hatch to seek re-election in Utah

Donald Trump and Orrin Hatch shake hands. REUTERS  Kevin Lamarque

Politics Politics Trump Says He Wants Orrin Hatch To Run For Re Election By Reuters

However, it seems Romney's possible bid has another opponent: his old frenemy Donald Trump. Nor did he become a billionaire businessman being that way. Privately, Trump has told people he wants Hatch - chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee - to keep the seat and has implored the senator to run, saying he doesn't want Romney in the Senate.

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.

As the president visited Utah on Monday, he also was embarking on a behind-the-scenes campaign to convince Hatch not to retire, according to Politico.

But there's more. Trump is expected to ride with Hatch to and from Washington in Air Force One, which is a nine-hour round trip. He also met with Mormon leaders.

As Politico notes, the public display of affection isn't only about blocking Romney.

Trump thanked Hatch for those remarks, and later credited the Utah Republican for the Senate's successful passage of the GOP tax bill.

Hatch, the second senator to endorse Trump during the presidential campaign, has said he's running again but has not announced a final decision.

Romney has called out Trump several times.

It seems unlikely that many Utahns are waiting breathlessly to see who Bannon thinks should be their next senator - or Trump for that matter. Earlier this year in an interview with National Journal, Hatch addressed whether he'd support Romney if he ever ran to replace him in the Senate.

Trump is not hindered by ideological considerations, but his former strategist is.

The rhetoric between both men has settled down after the election, but remains simmering.

Trump reportedly does not like the idea of a Sen. It's been understood that Romney has been working behind the scenes to scuttle Trump's agenda ever since.

"Roy Moore in the US Senate would be a stain on the GOP and on the nation", Romney wrote on Twitter.

Trump previously said he is doing it for Hatch. With McMullin declaring he'll run, it's indeed a possibility.

During a tour of the Latter-day Saints Church food services facility in Utah, Trump was asked if he was sending a message to Romney by encouraging Hatch to run for re-election.

"If Steve had a choice between Orrin Hatch and Mitt Romney, he would pick Hatch 10 times out of 10", the source said.

Hatch told voters in 2012 that his current term would be his last.

Despite delivering a passionate anti-Trump speech during the primaries, Romney has occasionally praised Trump's work as president.

"When you talk, this president listens", Hatch said.

This is a political battle worth following in the coming months. There's no guarantee Romney won't run anyway, considering the desire for new representation in Utah.

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