White House says Trump is sad Hatch is retiring

Published on January 02, 2018 at 01:29PM

Updated

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says President Donald Trump is “very sad” that Utah Republican Orrin Hatch has decided to leave the Senate rather than run for re-election this year.

Trump had been encouraging the 83-year-old senator to seek an eighth term. But Hatch announced Tuesday that he will retire when his term ends early next year.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says Trump has the “greatest and deepest respect” for Hatch and is particularly thankful for his leadership on the recently enacted tax bill.

Hatch’s decision would appear to clear the way for former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney to run for the seat.

Sanders declined to say whether Trump would be open to supporting Romney, saying she has yet to discuss that with the president.