Following the announcement by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) that he would be retiring at the end of his term, President Trump sent out a note of congratulations on Twitter Tuesday afternoon.

Hatch, 83, is the longest-serving Republican senator in United States history, having served since January 1977. Tuesday, he announced that he will be stepping down when his current term ends in January 2019.

His retirement will open the way for former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who has expressed a strong interest in the seat if Hatch steps back.

“Congratulations to Senator Orrin Hatch on an absolutely incredible career. He has been a tremendous supporter, and I will never forget the (beyond kind) statements he has made about me as President. He is my friend and he will be greatly missed in the U.S. Senate!” President Trump tweeted.

Hatch has been a strong supporter to President Trump, and is Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. At an event celebrating the passage of the GOP tax reform bill just before Christmas, Hatch gave a heartfelt speech in tribute to Trump that many said moved them to tears.


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