Trump voices support for Mitt Romney in campaign for Senate

Gage Skidmore  Flickr

President Donald Trump endorsed former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney for a U.S. Senate seat in Utah, setting aside longstanding differences with a GOP critic as the party looks to preserve its narrow majority in the chamber.

"Mitt Romney is one of the only nationally-recognized Republicans willing to stand up to President Donald Trump, something that causes heart palpitations in Utah's most zealous conservatives, but which gives the rest of us great comfort". He called Trump a "fraud", and a "phony", and said that Trump was "playing members of the American public for suckers".

Romney, who accepted Trump's endorsement, announced his intention to run last week, but never mentioned Trump in a campaign video. In his announcement, Romney claimed that "Utah welcomes legal immigrants from around the world, Washington sends immigrants a message of exclusion".

Once Trump won the nomination, Romney continued to oppose him.

If elected to the seat that Hatch, R-Utah, has held since 1976, Romney has said he believes the relationships he has already built in Washington, D.C., would position him better than the average freshman senator.

Candidate Trump promised repeatedly on the campaign trail to close the carried interest loophole ("Those hedge fund guys are getting away with murder"), an egregious mischaracterization of income that allows fund managers to pay half the tax rate of working people by claiming capital gains rates on ordinary income.

Trump's appearance is ostensibly official in goal: He will announce his decision to reduce the size of Utah's Bears Ears and Grand-Staircase Escalante national monuments, a cause that Hatch has championed.

And then, after Trump took office, Romney was back at it. Hatch, 83, served in the US Senate for over 40 years. The question is whether any Utah Republican will have the fortitude and financial backing to challenge Romney, who not only is the prohibitive favorite, but also shares the same Mormon faith as 60 percent of Utah residents.

Trump also reportedly tried to convince Sen. "I think that's going to be a problem".

Quickly after the statements came to light, Anderson released a statement apologizing for the tone of his comments saying, "Pursuant to an article today in the Salt Lake Tribune, I regret that my comments about potential Senatorial candidate, Mitt Romney, came across as disparaging or unsupportive".

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