Republican Senator Orrin Hatch (Utah) announced Tuesday that he’ll retire at the end of his term.
Hatch, the longest-serving GOP senator in U.S. history, made the announcement in a video posted to Twitter. Hatch’s retirement comes despite President Trump’s public encouragement for Hatch to run for re-election.
The powerful Senate Finance Committee chairman played a significant role in helping Republicans pass a major tax overhaul and was also integral in the White House’s decision to shrink two national monuments in Utah.
Despite support from Trump, Hatch was under some pressure to retire.
His decision comes after The Salt Lake Tribune, Utah’s largest newspaper, published a scathing Christmas Day editorial calling on him to leave the seat. The editorial board wrote that he has an “utter lack of integrity” that comes from “his unquenchable thirst for power.”
“I’ve always been a fighter. I was an amateur boxer in my youth, and I brought that fighting spirit with me to Washington,” Hatch said in the video. “But every good fighter knows when to hang up the gloves. And for me, that time is soon approaching.”
The 83-year-old senator said he made the decision to retire to spend more time with his family.
“That’s why, after much prayer and discussion with family and friends, I’ve decided to retire at the end of this term,” Hatch said.
The move could clear the path for Mitt Romney to replace him in the Senate.
Trump and some of his allies, including former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon, were reportedly looking to block the former Massachusetts governor from running by encouraging Hatch to stay in the seat.
Romney clashed with Trump during the 2016 election, calling the then-GOP presidential candidate a “phony” and a “fraud.” And more recently, Romney condemned failed Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore after Trump endorsed him amid sexual misconduct allegations.