In slap at Romney, Trump says he wants Hatch to run for re-election

SALT LAKE CITY (Reuters) - 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.

Hatch, 83, has made noises about retiring from the Senate seat he has held since 1977. Republican officials say Romney, a Utah resident who was the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, has been preparing to run for Hatch's seat next year.

But Trump, who has clashed with Romney in the past, said he wants Hatch to run for re-election.

9 PHOTOS
Donald Trump and Orrin Hatch
See Gallery
Donald Trump and Orrin Hatch
WASHINGTON, D.C. - OCTOBER 18: (AFP-OUT) U.S. President Donald Trump, with Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, speaks during a meeting with members of the Senate Finance Committee and his economic team October 18, 2017 at the White House in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - DECEMBER 4: U.S. President Donald Trump shakes the hand of Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) as he arrives for a speech at the Rotunda of the Utah State Capitol on December 4, 2017 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Trump announced the reduction in size of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments which were created by President Obama and Clinton. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump alongside US Senator Orrin Hatch (L), Republican of Utah, as they disembark from Air Force One upon arrival at Salt Lake City International Airport in Utah, December 4, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 18: President Donald Trump, flanked by Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., left, and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, right, speaks during a meeting with members of the Senate Finance Committee and members of the President's economic team in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, DC on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
From left US Vice President Mike Pence, US President Donald Trump, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) and Senator Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT) greet each other before a meeting with lawmakers in the Roosevelt Room of the White House February 2, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 2: (AFP OUT) U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hand with Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) at the start of a meeting with Senate and House legislators, in the Roosevelt Room at the White House, February 2, 2017 in Washington, DC. Lawmakers included in the meeting were Hatch, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA). (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump is greeted by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) prior to speaking at the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S., December 4, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump hands a pen used to sign an executive order to Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) after announcing big cuts to Utah's sprawling wilderness national monuments at the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S., December 4, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

"You are a true fighter, Orrin, I have to say," Trump said at an event in Salt Lake City, Utah's capital. "We hope you will continue to serve your state and your country in the Senate for a very long time to come."

Romney, 70, a former governor of Massachusetts 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.

Romney made clear that he took a dim view of Trump's endorsement on Monday of Republican Roy Moore for a U.S. Senate seat in Alabama that will be decided in a special election next week.

Moore has been accused by at least seven women of sexual improprieties they said occurred decades ago. Several were teenagers at the time. Moore has denied the accusations and said he is the victim of a witch hunt.

10 PHOTOS
Donald Trump and Mitt Romney meet
See Gallery
Donald Trump and Mitt Romney meet
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 29: (L to R) President-elect Donald Trump and Mitt Romney dine at Jean Georges restaurant, November 29, 2016 in New York City. President-elect Donald Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and other high level positions for the new administration. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney speaks after a dinner meeting with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump at Jean-Georges inside of the Trump International Hotel & Tower in New York, U.S., November 29, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 29: (L to R) President-elect Donald Trump and Mitt Romney dine at Jean Georges restaurant, November 29, 2016 in New York City. President-elect Donald Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and other high level positions for the new administration. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
US President-elect Donald Trump (L) dines with Mitt Romney (R) at Jean-Georges restaurant at Trump International Hotel and Tower, Tuesday, November 29, 2016 in New York. Romney, a favorite among establishment Republicans for being named Secretary of State, met with Trump for their second face-to-face meeting in 10 days. / AFP / Bryan R. Smith (Photo credit should read BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump sits at a table for dinner with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R) and his choice for White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus (L) at Jean-Georges at the Trump International Hotel & Tower in New York, U.S., November 29, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump sits at a table for dinner with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R) and his choice for White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus (L) at Jean-Georges at the Trump International Hotel & Tower in New York, U.S., November 29, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump sits at a table for dinner with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R) and his choice for White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus (L) at Jean-Georges at the Trump International Hotel & Tower in New York, U.S., November 29, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump sits at a table for dinner with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R) at Jean-Georges inside of the Trump International Hotel & Tower in New York, U.S., November 29, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney speaks after a dinner meeting with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump at Jean-Georges inside of the Trump International Hotel & Tower in New York, U.S., November 29, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

"Roy Moore in the US Senate would be a stain on the GOP and on the nation," Romney wrote on Twitter. "Leigh Corfman and other victims are courageous heroes. No vote, no majority is worth losing our honor, our integrity."

Trump considered picking Romney as his secretary of state a year ago but opted instead for Rex Tillerson. In August, Romney demanded Trump apologize for saying that both sides were to blame for violence at a white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Trump did not apologize.

Trump demurred on Monday when asked whether he was trying to send Romney a message by encouraging Hatch to run again.

"He's a good man. Mitt's a good man," Trump said.

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton and Steve Holland; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Leslie Adler)

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.