Kirk Jowers, a friend of Romney who served as the chairman and general counsel of his political action committee, told Politico that while "Hatch is a known entity for Trump and has been really goof for the president", the 2012 GOP presidential nominee is more of an unknown.
At the same time, Trump and Romney spoke in polite terms, according White House counselor Kellyanne Conway.
Conway refused to speculate as to whether Trump would back Romney should Hatch retire and he chose to run. It's unclear if the 83-year-old Hatch will run for reelection, or if Romney would launch a primary challenge. "Morally different universes." On Monday, in response to the president's de facto endorsement of Moore, Romney tweeted unequivocally that having "Roy Moore in the US Senate would be a stain on the GOP and on the nation" and "No vote, no majority is worth losing our honor, our integrity". Trump has fired back and criticized Romney's failed presidential run.
Trump's former chief strategist Steve Bannon assailed Romney during a Tuesday rally for Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore. Even if Trump and Steve Bannon went all-in to stop Romney by backing Hatch, that might end up hurting them more than it hurt Mitt. You went to France to be a missionary while guys were dying in rice paddies in Vietnam. "You know why? They want to take your voice away", Bannon said as Moore looked on.
"[Trump] has got a great relationship with Governor Romney", Conway said of the former MA governor. "Do not talk to me about honor and integrity".
"The days of taking it silently are over", Bannon declared at a rally that drew hundreds of Moore supporters to a local farm in the southwestern corner of the state. At least Romney has not feuded with Gold Star families, which is more than can be said for our President. "We have 7,000 dead and 52,000 casualties, and where were the Romneys during those wars?" he continued. He then helped elect a president who avoided Vietnam service thanks to deferments for education and "temporary" bone spurs. Neither of Trump's adult sons served in the military. That's why he's waiting patiently for senior Republican Utah Sen.
Hatch called Bannon's verbal assault "disappointing and unjustified".
Hatch, who is Mormon, denounced attacks on "our own Christian LDS faith and the selfless service of missionary work".
According to Trump deputies, the president's relationship with Hatch began before Romney planned of being Utah's senator.
"Utahns rejects the ugly politics and tactics" of Bannon, he added.
While he and Hatch toured a Salt Lake City food pantry alongside leaders of the Church of Latter Day Saints, Trump sidestepped questions of whether he was trying to block Romney from running, saying only "He's a good man".