Trump urging Hatch to run again in Utah to block Romney from Senate: report

Trump urging Hatch to run again in Utah to block Romney from Senate: report

President Trump has personally urged Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchNY's political prosecution of Manafort should scare us all Congress must break its addiction to unjust tax extenders The FDA crackdown on dietary supplements is inadequate MORE (R-Utah) to run for reelection in Utah, in what some observers suspect is an attempt to block former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney from taking the seven-term senator's seat, Politico reported on Sunday.

Trump has reportedly persuaded Hatch to seek another term during Hatch's visits to the White House and over phone calls. 

Politico first reported last month that Romney is mulling a potential 2018 Senate bid. 

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Sources close to Romney told Politico they believe Trump is aiming to keep the former GOP nominee out of the Senate, and that Romney has grown frustrated not knowing what decision Hatch will make. 

Romney has been a vocal critic of Trump both before and after Trump's presidential campaign. 

The former Massachusetts governor ripped the president following the violence in Charlottesville, Va., in August, after Trump said that "many sides" had taken part in the violence. Romney said Trump's response "caused racists to rejoice" and "minorities to weep."

The Politico story comes after The Washington Examiner reported on Sunday that Trump's former chief White House strategist Stephen Bannon was considering endorsing Hatch as a means of blocking Romney. 

“If Steve had a choice between Orrin Hatch and Mitt Romney, he would pick Hatch 10 times out of 10,” a source told the newspaper.

However, Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes (R) said Romney would not be expressively anti-Trump as a senator all of the time. 

"I think he could be a great ally of the president but, as you well know, they're very different people and have very different personalities," Hughes told Politico, adding that Hatch "understands the president very well."

The report comes one day before Trump is set to travel to the state with Hatch to announce that he is shrinking at least two national monuments.

Hatch was the second senator after Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsJuan Williams: Don't rule out impeaching Trump O'Rourke on impeachment: 2020 vote may be best way to 'resolve' Trump House Judiciary Dem, Republican clash over details of Whitaker testimony MORE (R-Ala.) to endorse Trump during the 2016 campaign.