U.S. President Donald Trump is greeted by Sen.
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.
"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.
Asked whether he was encouraging Hatch, who is the Senate president pro tempore and chairs its powerful Finance Committee, to run for re-election, Trump said "Yes".
They insist Romney, who relocated to Utah after losing the 2012 presidential election, would consider running only if Hatch retires, according to two people close to Romney.
According to Politico, Romney himself has grown frustrated by the "ongoing uncertainty" about Hatch's future plans, especially after the senator encouraged him to consider run in the first place.
Romney has been preparing to run for Hatch's seat on the long-held assumption that the 83-year-old would retire, according to Politico.
Privately, he said he would prioritize stopping Romney, even if it meant backing Hatch, who entered the Senate in 1977. At the time, Hatch told Trump that he hadn't yet made up his mind.
The report stated in more recent times, Hatch also played a pivotal role in passing Trump's tax reform bill through the Senate. 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".
He charged that Trump's domestic policies would lead to recession and his foreign policies would make the world more risky.
Trump considered picking Romney as his secretary of state a year ago but opted instead for Rex Tillerson. "His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University".
Trump called Hatch in October to and requested he run again, sources familiar with the call told Politico.