The office of Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchLobbying world Congress, stop holding 'Dreamers' hostage Drug prices are declining amid inflation fears MORE (R-Utah) clarified on Thursday that the senator did not say President TrumpDonald TrumpTexas announces election audit in four counties after Trump demand Schumer sets Monday showdown on debt ceiling-government funding bill Pennsylvania AG sues to block GOP subpoenas in election probe MORE was the greatest president ever, but suggested he could be.
Trump said Thursday at a GOP retreat that Hatch, 83, had called him the "greatest president in the history of our country," thanking Hatch and calling him a "spectacular man."
"Orrin is — I love listening to him speak ... He actually once said I'm the greatest president in the history of our country and I said, 'does that include Lincoln and Washington?' He said, 'Yes.' I said, 'I love this guy,'" Trump told reporters at a press conference for the West Virginia retreat.
Hatch spokesman Matt Whitlock told The Hill that "Hatch has said that he would like to work with the President to make this the greatest presidency in history for the American people."
While the president appears to have slightly misquoted Hatch, the senator — who seen seven presidents in the White House during his four decades in office — previously praised Trump in November as “one of the best I’ve served under."
The senator later clarified his remarks to emphasize the independence of the legislative branch, saying Trump was “the best president I’ve served ‘under’ in terms of line of succession."
Hatch then listed his all-time favorites, saying jokingly "If we're talking best presidents I've served alongside, that list would also include Lincoln, Reagan and James K. Polk, who really knew how to command a room."
After the GOP passed its massive tax overhaul, Hatch also predicted it would be the first step toward making “this the greatest presidency that we've seen, not only in generations, but maybe ever."
Hatch has announced his retirement from the Senate after his current term. Former GOP presidential nominee Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyGraham tries to help Trump and McConnell bury the hatchet GOP senator will 'probably' vote for debt limit increase Five questions and answers about the debt ceiling fight MORE, long rumored to be a replacement candidate, announced Thursday that he would make a Senate announcement in two weeks.