Just as he did with the wildly unpopular GOP tax bill that President Donald Trump signed into law last week, Utah Senator Orrin Hatch overlooked the fine print when he shared on Twitter that he is "grateful" to be honored by The Salt Lake Tribune as "Utahn of the Year." While the Tribune gives the designation to someone they recognize as having "the biggest impact," for Hatch, that impact was for the worst. In fact, the paper called for his retirement.
The editorial board explained their decision had nothing to do with the senator's merits: "The selection of Sen. Orrin G. Hatch as the 2017 Utahn of the Year has little to do with the fact that, after 42 years, he is the longest-serving Republican senator in U.S. history, that he has been a senator from Utah longer than three-fifths of the state’s population has been alive."
Senator Hatch, currently the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, instead earned the titled based on his "utter lack of integrity that rises from his unquenchable thirst for power." Because of his significant role in the GOP's reform-sweeping tax bill, as well as in President Donald Trump's "dramatically dismantling" of national monuments in Utah, the paper in their blistering review said Hatch should announce that he will not seek re-election.
"To all appearances — appearances promoted by Hatch — this anti-environmental, anti-Native American and, yes, anti-business decommissioning of national monuments was basically a political favor the White House did for Hatch,” the editorial states.
"It would be good for Utah if Hatch, having finally caught the Great White Whale of tax reform, were to call it a career. If he doesn't, the voters should end it for him."
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Additionally, the editorial criticizes Hatch for the appearance of preparing to run for an eighth term in 2018, after saying in 2012 that he would not mount another campaign.
“Once again, Hatch has moved to freeze the field to make it nigh unto impossible for any number of would-be senators to so much as mount a credible challenge. That’s not only not fair to all of those who were passed over. It is basically a theft from the Utah electorate.”
The editorial board also used some of Hatch's own previous words as reasoning for him to end his career before voters do it for him. In 1976, Hatch said this about his election campaign opponent: “What do you call a senator who’s served in office for 18 years?"
"You call him home.”
And then in 1983 Hatch admonished Capital Hill interns with this bit of sage advice: “You should not fall in love with D.C. Elected politicians shouldn’t stay here too long.”
The editorial concluded by saying that Hatch should listen to his own advice. A poll conducted by the Tribune earlier this year found that three-quarters of Utahns want Hatch to retire.
This month, Hatch was one of the Republicans to stand alongside Trump at a White House event commemorating the congressional passage of the GOP tax plan. At the event, Trump invited members of Congress to speak, and when Hatch's turn came, he offered praise of both the legislation and the President.