Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Wednesday he is not sure whether Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, will run for re-election in 2018 and defended Mitt Romney against attacks from Steve Bannon, a former top White House aide.
"He hasn’t," McConnell told host Hugh Hewitt when asked if Hatch has told him of his plans. "And we’re not sure what Orrin’s future is. Of course, he’s chairman of the Finance Committee, and just achieved a great victory with this Senate-passed tax bill. And it’s quite a capstone to a long career."
"I anticipate he’ll decide sometime soon," he said.
The Kentucky Republican also came out and supported Romney against attacks from Bannon on Tuesday night, who McConnell continued to not mention by name. McConnell called Romney a "truly remarkable Republican" and said he is pleased he is part of the party.
"I think he’s a great American, and has had an outstanding career, and is a truly remarkable Republican. I’m glad he’s a member of our party," he said.
The chairman at far-right Breitbart News, Bannon said at a rally in Alabama in support of Judge Roy Moore Tuesday that Romney "hid behind his religion" and dodged military service. Romney — a Mormon — has been talked about as a potential candidate for Senate in Utah if Hatch decides to step aside.
Hatch, 83, has gone back and forth on retirement throughout 2017 and is currently being prodded to run by President Trump, including during their trip to Salt Lake City on Monday.