President Donald Trump formally endorsed a possible re-election bid by Sen. Orrin Hatch, calling the Utah Republican a “very special man” at the start of a speech in Salt Lake City.
“You are a true fighter, Orrin,” Trump said. “You meet fighters and you meet people who you thought were fighters — but they’re not so good at fighting. He’s a fighter. We hope you will continue to serve your state and your country in the Senate for a very long time to come.”
The duo shared a short embrace and a few private words at the top of Trump’s remarks.
Hatch, 83, is the longest-serving Republican senator in history, currently serving his seventh term.
The president told reporters in Hatch’s home he’s pressing the octogenarian to run again, according to a pool report released by the White House. The Utah senator traveled there with trump aboard Air Force One.
Asked if his encouragement for Hatch is a signal to Mitt Romney to stand down his own bid, Trump replied: “He’s a good man. Mitt’s a good man.”