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As Chairman of the Senate Finance and Judiciary Committees and as the longest-serving Republican Senator in USA history, Senator Hatch has represented the interests of Utah with distinction and honor. Orrin Hatch (R) announcing his retirement after more than four decades in the Senate. Last month, Mr. Trump flew with Mr. Hatch on Air Force One to Utah for a day of events that was aimed entirely at lobbying the senator to run again. I've always been a fighter. "I was an amateur boxer in my youth, and I brought that fighting spirit with me to Washington", he said.

"Every good fighter knows when to hang up the gloves". In his video address Hatch said he's "authored more bills that have become law than any member of Congress alive today". But Hatch, who emerged as one of the presidents most avid loyalists in the Senate, made a decision to retire after discussing the matter with his family over the holidays. The dispute occurred as Republicans pushed a near $1.5 trillion, 10-year tax cut for businesses and individuals through the Senate Finance Committee over Democrats' objections.

Sanders said that Trump "has the greatest and deepest amount of respect for Senator Hatch and appreciated the role he played in the tax talks".

"I didn't see Governor Romney file papers to run for Orrin Hatch's seat". Should they decide to run, their presence might be a welcome bit of nostalgia to GOP voters worn out by Trump's presidency; but they could also provide an unwelcome flashback.

Shortly after Hatch's announcement, Romney posted a statement on his Facebook page congratulating Hatch for his more than 40 years of service in the Senate.

Romney, who sought the GOP nomination in 2008 and got it in 2012, also laid into Trump during that speech for "the bullying, the greed, the showing off, the misogyny, the absurd third-grade theatrics". Mr. Romney has told associates he would likely run if Mr. Hatch retires.

If Hatch had opted to stay in the Senate, he could have faced a formidable challenge from a crop of ambitious Utah Republicans.

Romney, the former MA governor who now lives in Utah, thanked Hatch in a statement on Facebook and said Hatch "has represented the interests of Utah with distinction and honor".

Amid earlier speculation about Hatch's plans, the Utah senator stepped up to defend Romney, a fellow Mormon, against criticism from Bannon.