Trump congratulates Hatch on 'incredible career' after retirement announcement
© Getty Images

President TrumpDonald John TrumpSasse: Trump shouldn't dignify Putin with Helsinki summit Top LGBT group projects message onto Presidential Palace in Helsinki ahead of Trump-Putin summit Hillary Clinton to Trump ahead of Putin summit: 'Do you know which team you play for?' MORE congratulated Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchGOP moderates hint at smooth confirmation ahead for Kavanaugh GOP senators introduce resolution endorsing ICE Yale Law School students, alumni denounce Trump Supreme Court pick MORE (R-Utah) for his "incredible" career on Tuesday after the longest-serving current senator announced his retirement in 2019. 

Many had expected that the Senate president pro tempore would run for an eighth term in November, but he announced in a video that he'd decided to step down "after much prayer and discussion" with his family and friends.

ADVERTISEMENT
“I’ve always been a fighter. I was an amateur boxer in my youth, and I brought that fighting spirit with me to Washington,” Hatch said in the video. “But every good fighter knows when to hang up the gloves. And for me, that time is soon approaching."

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said earlier Tuesday that Trump was "very sad" about the news. 

"The president certainly has the greatest and deepest amount of respect for Sen. Hatch and his over four decades of experience in the Senate," Sanders said at a White House press conference, adding that Trump was thankful for his work on the Republican tax-reform bill that passed in December. 

Former GOP presidential nominee Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyUtah's largest paper compares child separation to war crimes in scathing editorial Progressive politics have done nothing to help black America Romney rips Trump tariffs: ‘Trade wars are a tax on Americans’ MORE, an outspoken critic of the president, has reportedly been meeting with top Republicans in preparation for a possible 2018 bid for Hatch's seat.