Sen. Orrin Hatch hopes someone with Mitt Romney’s 'caliber' replaces him

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch joined 2News Anchors Shauna Lake and Mark Koelbel in the KUTV studio Wednesday to talk about his Tuesday announcement to retire and his thoughts about the death of LDS President Thomas S. Monson. (Photo: Hannah Knowles / KUTV)

SALT LAKE CITY KUTV) – Sen. Orrin G. Hatch joined KUTV anchors Shauna Lake and Mark Koelbel in the studio Wednesday to talk about his Tuesday announcement to retire and his thoughts about the death of LDS President Thomas S. Monson.

Hatch is the longest-serving Senate Republican in U.S. history and sent out a video posted on a Twitter about his plans not to seek an eighth term in office.

“After much prayer and discussion with family and friends, I have decided to retire at the end of this term,” Hatch said in a video posted on Twitter.

The first question posed to Hatch was his thoughts on the passing of Monson. Both men served for decades in their respective leadership roles, and Hatch considered the Mormon prophet a personal friend.

“We are close, and as far as I’m concerned he is still alive in his own way,” Hatch said. “He’s an all-round great human being.”

Hatch then responded to being asked if he thought President Donald Trump was angry with him for not running for office in 2019.

“No. He was very kind. He asked me to run again, and I told him I might not do that, and he said it’s a decision you have to make,” Hatch said. “He was gracious and kind and let me know he’s really going to miss me, and he will.”

Hatch added that he has a year to go before he “hangs it up,” and as the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee – “the most powerful committee” – that no one should give up on him, including those who speculate that 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney is the man primed to succeed him.

“I have to stay out of it, but I’d like Mitt,” Hatch said. “We love Mitt, and I’m hoping with someone of his caliber will replace me.”

Hatch recently helped lead Republican efforts to pass a tax reform bill last month and said while he doesn’t like all Democrats, that he is proud of his “unification” with opposing party leadership on various legislation. He self-proclaimed to have put forth the largest number of legislation than any other Senator in history during the studio interview.

Aside from focusing on the Orrin Hatch Foundation, a nonprofit clearinghouse of government records and Hatch’s personal collection of books accessible to youth to learn about the role of government, Hatch told Lake and Koelbel upon retirement he plans to focus on his wife, Elaine.

“I want to make her life as good as I can,” Hatch said.

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