Amid the retirement of Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, it is being speculated that former presidential nominee Mitt Romney will launch a bid to take his Senate position.
Politico reports that on Thursday evening, President Donald Trump picked up the phone and called the former Massachusetts governor.
POTUS and Mitt Romney spoke Thursday evening, a source familiar with the phone call confirms to me. POTUS wished Romney best of luck in the future. The two also discussed Orin Hatch.
— Katherine Faulders (@KFaulders) January 5, 2018
Per the report:
The brief call, which was described by two sources who were briefed on it, lasted less than 10 minutes. The president wished Romney, the 2012 GOP nominee, best of luck in his future endeavors.
The two men also spoke about 83-year-old Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, who announced his retirement earlier this week, opening the seat for Romney to run.
NEWS: Trump + Romney spoke by phone Thurs evening amid Utah Senate speculation. POTUS msg: best of luck https://t.co/i02SnzsVFF
— Alex Isenstadt (@politicoalex) January 5, 2018
Romney and Trump have shared a bumpy relationship:
Romney was an outspoken critic of Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign, describing him as a “fraud” and a “phony” and imploring the party to nominate someone else.
Tensions eased after the election, when Trump considered Romney to be his secretary of State. Yet Romney has criticized Trump at various points during his tenure in office, and he has made it clear that he would be willing to take on Trump as a senator.
According to the report, Romney is “almost certain” about running for the Senate and will “enter the race sometime in the next few weeks.”
— POLITICO (@politico) January 5, 2018
Here’s more, from the Hill:
Trump had pressed Hatch, 83, to seek another term in the Senate, where he serves as the chairman of the Finance Committee.
Romney, who has been a vocal critic of Trump since the 2016 presidential race, was said to have been considered briefly as a potential pick for secretary of state in the months before Trump took office. Trump eventually tapped former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson for the job.
— The Hill (@thehill) January 5, 2018
And, via CBS News, Romney reportedly thanked Hatch after his long service in Congress:
“I join the people of Utah in thanking my friend, Senator Orrin Hatch for his more than forty years of service to our great state and nation,” he wrote. “As Chairman of the Senate Finance and Judiciary Committees and as the longest-serving Republican Senator in U.S. history, Senator Hatch has represented the interests of Utah with distinction and honor. Ann and I wish Senator Orrin Hatch and his loving wife Elaine all the best in their future endeavors.”
— CBS News (@CBSNews) January 5, 2018