Does Trump Have It Out for Mitt Romney?

Reports: Donald Trump and Steve Bannon Eager to Block Mitt Romney Senate Campaign in Utah

President Donald Trump on Monday said he supports Utah Senator Orrin Hatch running for re-election next year, as speculation mounts that fellow Republican and frequent Trump critic Mitt Romney hopes to take the seat. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) if the senator made a decision to run for re-election, snubbing former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's reported consideration of a Senate run.

The Atlantic reported in April that Romney, formerly governor of MA and the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, was considering the possibility of running for Hatch's seat.

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Although Trump aides attributed the president's efforts to his bond with Hatch, those close to Romney believe the president's primary motivation is to keep Romney, whom he publicly sparred with throughout the 2016 campaign, from entering the Senate, according to Politico. Trump will also meet with Mormon leaders in Utah with Hatch by his side. Trump himself seemed to confirm the theory during a speech at the Utah State Capitol on Monday, when he addressed Hatch before the crowd. But when the press followed up with a question about whether Trump's enthusiasm for Hatch was meant to deter Romney, he demurred, replying, "He's a good man. Mitt's a good man". "Mitt Romney would be ideal".

But Trump, who has clashed with Romney in the past, said he wants Hatch to run for re-election. Either way, Trump-not to mention his former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who is allegedly considering a Hatch endorsement-may not have much of a choice in the matter.

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But the two will fly together on Air Force One to Salt Lake City on Monday where the president is expected to slash the sizes of Bear Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments.

Yet Hatch, the longest-serving Republican senator in history, is now refusing to rule out another campaign - a circumstance Romney's infuriated inner circle blames squarely on the president. Trump previously said he is doing it for Hatch.

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Romney softened his opposition before the election, however, and was briefly considered to serve as Trump's secretary of state.

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