After almost 41 years in office, Utah's Sen. Orrin Hatch is the longest-serving Republican senator in US history—and President Trump apparently wants the 83-year-old Senate Finance Committee chairman to seek another term in 2018. Sources tell Politico that Trump, who will appear with Hatch at an event in Salt Lake City on Monday, is pushing for Hatch to rethink retirement plans because he doesn't want Mitt Romney to run for the seat. The sources say Trump not only wants to keep Romney—a prominent "Never Trumper" before last year's election—out of the Senate, he wants to keep Hatch around because he values the loyalty the senator has shown since the early days of his campaign.
"Hatch is a known entity for Trump and has been really good for the president for the most part,"says Kirk Jowers, former chairman of Romney's political action committee. "He knows for a fact he's not going to get that with Romney. I don't know that he knows what he's going to get with Romney, but it's not going to be what he's got with Hatch." Politico's sources say Trump has tried to persuade Hatch to stay on in phone calls and White House meetings. They will travel together from Washington to Utah on Monday for Trump's first trip to the state as president, reports the Salt Lake Tribune. During the visit, Trump is expected to sign an executive order shrinking the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante national monuments, a move Hatch says he is "incredibly grateful" for. (Read more Mitt Romney stories.)