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

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump to fundraise for 3 Republicans running for open seats: report Trump to nominate former Monsanto exec to top Interior position White House aides hadn’t heard of Trump's new tax cut: report MORE congratulated Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchGOP leaders hesitant to challenge Trump on Saudi Arabia Congress should work with Trump and not 'cowboy' on Saudi Arabia, says GOP senator US to open trade talks with Japan, EU, UK 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 RomneyPoll: Support growing for Utah's Medicaid expansion ballot measure Arizona Dems hope higher Latino turnout will help turn the state blue Trump changes tone on Saudi Arabia amid mounting pressure 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.