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Can Trump and Bannon Thwart Romney in Utah?

by | Dec 6, 2017 | Politics

Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts and recent resident of Utah, is stewing in his political wannabe-relevant juices as Trump attempts to persuade Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) to seek reelection in the 2018 midterms. It’s gearing up to be the grandest game of chicken for the slick-suited set to date, and those with a wager on the outcome wait with bated breath.

Hatch, 83, has not yet said anything publicly about retiring, but Republicans in Utah feel that the arrival of Romney will make the decision much more comfortable for him. Let’s face it; anyone with an R attached to their name will not have much of a battle in the conservative state. The odds are that Romney, Carpetbagger that he is, will likely win if Hatch steps down and endorses another Latter-Day Saint candidate.  But President Trump and Steve Bannon shudder with full body willies at the idea of having Senator Romney to contend with in getting the will of the people done.  Romney is not a fan of the brash and brusque Trump style and has made his disdain for the president clear from the start.  Of course, his tone changed a tad when Trump dangled the carrot of Secretary of State (much to the outrage of his supporters).  After one fancy French dinner in Manhattan, Romney gushed with praise for Trump’s “[m]essage of inclusion and bringing people together” since his November 8 victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Trump, with Bannon.

Noting the appointments Trump has made to fill key cabinet positions for his administration and his desire for greater unity among Americans, Romney said that “all of those things combined give me increasing hope that President-elect Trump is the very man who can lead us” to a better future.”

It was a big carrot, and it was yanked away with nary an apology from Trump.  Maybe that’s causing the Never Trumper in Romney to resurface.  Trump also considered Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) for Secretary of State, and we know what happened to him.  Steve Bannon happened to him, and to Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ), neither of whom will seek reelection in 2018.  Bannon is targeting every sitting Senator, except Ted Cruz (R-TX), that is a roadblock to furthering the America-first agenda – though Bannon has seemingly softened on Hatch:

“But, Hatch advisors recently reached out to Bannon and spoke with the Breitbart News executive chairman about 2018, signaling the senator could be having second thoughts about retiring. In Utah, Bannon is willing to put aside his war with McConnell and embrace Hatch if it means blocking Romney, a traditional Republican who has the gravitas to rally considerable opposition to Trump from the Right.”

Hatch is a Swamp Dweller – a resident since 1976. Despite his views on tax reform, selection of Supreme Court judges (he first proposed Ruth Bader-Ginsburg to Bill Clinton), and being a staunch advocate for the current president, he isn’t on the “to drain” list just yet.  And Trump is schmoozing the octogenarian in hopes of keeping Romney out of the Utah seat, which I’m sure has him chuckling more now than when he didn’t select him as Secretary of State.  In Trump’s defense, who wouldn’t want a guy like Hatch, who publicly says this about his Commander in Chief:

“I’ll say this for ya.’ He’s been one of the best presidents I’ve served under, and the reason is he’s not afraid to make decisions. He’s not afraid to take on the big boss around here.”

Yeah, I’d wager that Hatch is off Bannon’s hit list for now.


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