In a scathing editorial, The Salt Lake Tribune is calling on Orrin Hatch — the longest serving Republican senator in history, to retire upon the completion of his seventh term, and also sharply criticized his staunch support for President Donald Trump's agenda.
Hatch was named The Salt Lake Tribune’s 2017 Utahn of the Year, and while "the criteria are not set in stone, "the award is bestowed upon a Utahn who has "made the most news" or has "had the biggest impact" either "for good or for ill."
Hatch can proudly wear his new title for his "part in the dramatic dismantling of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, "the editorial board wrote. Other reasons included the role Hatch played "as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee in passing a major overhaul of the nation’s tax code," and "his utter lack of integrity that rises from his unquenchable thirst for power."
The Tribune explained that Hatch's actions will have a serious impact on the lives of all Utahn's, both currently and in the future, and slammed his part in Trump's decision to downsize to national monuments substantially.
"As has been argued in this space before, the presidential decision to cut the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in half and to slash the size of the brand new Bears Ears National Monument by some 90 percent has no constitutional, legal or environmental logic," the Tribune wrote.
The Tribune described the move to reduce the size of the monuments as a returned political favor from the White House for Hatch's "support of the president generally and of his tax reform plan in particular."
But regardless of how the bill impacts Americans, Hatch "has his fingerprints all over it," as he serves as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, the editorial board wrote.
But perhaps most notably, the Tribune bluntly called on Hatch to close out his career, "if there is any justice."
The Tribune explained that Hatch vowed the 2012 election campaign would be his last, but has since geared up to run one again for reelection in 2018.
"That was enough for many likely successors, of both parties, to stand down, to let the elder statesman have his victory tour and to prepare to run for an open seat in 2018," the editorial board wrote. "Clearly, it was a lie. Over the years, Hatch stared down a generation or two of highly qualified political leaders who were fully qualified to take his place, Hatch is now moving to run for another term — it would be his eighth — in the Senate."
The Tribune continued, "That’s not only not fair to all of those who were passed over. It is basically a theft from the Utah electorate."
To close, the editorial board cited advice Hatch gave to Capitol Hill interns back in 1983, "You should not fall in love with D.C." Hatch warned at the time, "Elected politicians shouldn’t stay here too long."
That message may not have gotten through to Hatch, who tweeted out that it was an "honor" to be named in the editorial.