ST. GEORGE – Sen. Orrin Hatch was named The Salt Lake Tribune’s “Utahn of the Year” by its editorial board Christmas Day, but don’t be fooled – it wasn’t exactly an honor, as the state’s largest newspaper sharply criticized Hatch and called for him to not seek re-election.
— Orrin Hatch (@OrrinHatch) December 25, 2017
Spencer Cox is the lieutenant governor of Utah, while Ruby Gobert is a member of the Utah Jazz basketball team.
Hatch’s spokesman, Matt Whitlock, tweeted out Tuesday morning that it was a tongue-in-cheek reply, adding, “This is at least the 4th editorial the Tribune has written in the last two years urging Hatch to retire. Might as well have a chuckle about it.”
So that the meaning of the designation wasn’t misunderstood, the Tribune editorial staff said the “Utahn of the Year” the person who has done the most and had the most impact for better or worse, while also making the most news.
Hatch achieved that criteria by supporting President Donald Trump’s decision to shrink the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments; working on passing of major overhaul of the tax system as the Senate Finance Committee chairman and, as the Tribune states, for the senator’s “utter lack of integrity that rises from his unquenchable thirst for power.”
The Tribune also criticized Hatch’s support of Trump.
Having achieved a longtime goal of seeing the nation’s tax code get an overhaul – which the president signed into law last week – the Tribune called on Hatch to retire:
No matter who turns out to be right about that argument, the fact remains that tax reform has been talked about and talked about for decades and only now has anything been done. And Hatch, as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, has his fingerprints all over it.
But perhaps the most significant move of Hatch’s career is the one that should, if there is any justice, end it.
Following the tongue-in-cheek tweet, Whitlock further commented on the Tribune’s editorial.
Everyone celebrates Christmas differently. We all sincerely hope the members of the Salt Lake Tribune editorial board find joy this holiday season in something beyond baselessly attacking the service and honor of someone who (has) given 40 years for the people of Utah, and served as one of the most effective lawmakers of all time, just to to satisfy their unquenchable thirst for clicks.
— Matt Whitlock 🇺🇸 (@mattdizwhitlock) December 26, 2017
Hatch is currently serving his seventh term in the Senate and has told media outlets he plans on running for re-election, but has yet to make an official announcement.
Hatch’s office has said any announcement will likely come at the end of this year.
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