Utah paper tells Hatch to 'call it a career' in blistering editorial

Utah's largest newspaper slammed Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah) in a Christmas Day editorial on Monday, calling on the senior GOP senator to retire.

The Salt Lake Tribune's editorial board named Hatch their 2017 "Utahn of the Year," a designation the paper says is given to someone who has "had the biggest impact. For good or for ill."

The newspaper said Hatch earned the title based on "his utter lack of integrity that rises from his unquenchable thirst for power."

"It would be good for Utah if Hatch, having finally caught the Great White Whale of tax reform, were to call it a career," the paper's editorial board wrote. "If he doesn't, the voters should end it for him."

The Salt Lake Tribune went after Hatch for his involvement in President Trump's decision earlier this year to shrink two national monuments in the state, saying there was "no constitutional, legal or environmental logic" behind the move.

"To all appearances - appearances promoted by Hatch - this anti-environmental, anti-Native American and, yes, anti-business decommissioning of national monuments was basically a political favor the White House did for Hatch," the editorial states.

The newspaper also noted Hatch's involvement in the passage of the GOP tax plan last week given his role as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

The plan has been criticized by opponents who say it primarily benefits wealthy individuals and corporations, claims that backers of the plan reject.

The editorial also criticizes Hatch for appearing to be preparing to run for an eighth term in 2018, after saying in 2012 that it would be his last campaign.

"Once again, Hatch has moved to freeze the field to make it nigh unto impossible for any number of would-be senators to so much as mount a credible challenge," the paper said.

"That's not only not fair to all of those who were passed over. It is basically a theft from the Utah electorate."

The Hill reached out to a spokesman for Hatch for comment.

Rumors have swirled that Hatch could retire to make room for 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney to run for his Senate seat, but Hatch's office has denied the reports.

A poll from earlier this year found that three-quarters of Utahns want Hatch to retire.

The filing deadline for Utah Senate candidates is March 15.