The Salt Lake Tribune, Utah's largest newspaper, recently named Sen. Orrin Hatch their "Utahn of the Year" for 2017. But it wasn't the high honor that one might think it was.
In a scathing op-ed, the paper's editorial board explained that the title is bestowed upon someone who "had the biggest impact. For good or for ill."
"The selection of Sen. Orrin G. Hatch as the 2017 Utahn of the Year has little to do with the fact that, after 42 years, he is the longest-serving Republican senator in U.S. history, that he has been a senator from Utah longer than three-fifths of the state’s population has been alive," they stated.
.@SenOrrinHatch has been named Utahn of the Year because of: • His part in dismantling two national monuments • His… https://t.co/imvgBrtJRK— The Salt Lake Tribune (@The Salt Lake Tribune) 1514317506.0
They then laid out the reasons he was selected, including his role in the dismantling of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, his position as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, which recently passed such devastating tax reform, and his "utter lack of integrity that rises from his unquenchable thirst for power."
The editorial also called for Hatch's retirement, saying: "It would be good for Utah if Hatch, having finally caught the Great White Whale of tax reform, were to call it a career. If he doesn’t, the voters should end it for him."
Utah's largest newspaper calls on Orrin Hatch, the state's senior senator, to step down in blistering editorial… https://t.co/JGAWydL1A9— CBS News (@CBS News) 1514310001.0
Surprisingly, Hatch tweeted out a photo of the cover of the Tribune, saying: "Grateful for this great Christmas honor from the Salt Lake Tribune."
Grateful for this great Christmas honor from the Salt Lake Tribune. For the record, I voted for @SpencerJCox and… https://t.co/jWJxX4rYFr— Orrin Hatch (@Orrin Hatch) 1514229955.0
Of course, everyone pounced on the fact that Hatch appeared to have taken the title at face value, not realizing it wasn't exactly a good thing:
🤦🏽♀️Hatch Fooled By Newspaper Editorial Calling For His Retirement – Talking Points Memo https://t.co/XPj3Yusrj5 #OrrinHatch— Renee' Martin (@Renee' Martin) 1514315243.0
Salt Lake Tribune denounces senator's "utter lack of integrity" in "Utahn of the Year" editorial. Senator responds… https://t.co/6a6oDdAkCN— MPR News (@MPR News) 1514325602.0
@OrrinHatch @SpencerJCox @rudygobert27 Did you not read it? Just like your tax bill!?!? 🙄— Beth Bryson (@Beth Bryson) 1514244476.0
@CarynLonz @WebbL03 @OrrinHatch @SpencerJCox @rudygobert27 Can’t believe it hasn’t been deleted yet.— Beth Bryson (@Beth Bryson) 1514303102.0
@KevinMKruse @OrrinHatch @SpencerJCox @rudygobert27 it's almost as if he didn't he even skim the bullet points https://t.co/st9TxcFjHa— Tweak Softly (@Tweak Softly) 1514300487.0
It's important to note that there were actually two Salt Lake Tribune articles. One was a political profile, which was quite a bit less critical in tone, while the other one was the scathing editorial.
Many Twitter users felt that it was important to clarify which one Hatch was responding to:
K I don’t get any pleasure out of being this person, but I think it’s important to recognize that there are two art… https://t.co/7KCBL7vxCy— madalena (@madalena) 1514266456.0
(One is by the editorial board, one was written by political reporter Thomas Burr, and the one by Thomas Burr was p… https://t.co/gj4gaNvdPV— madalena (@madalena) 1514266602.0
@maddezmom @CarynLonz @WebbL03 @OrrinHatch @SpencerJCox @rudygobert27 There are two separate articles. He’s referen… https://t.co/EZtjfaYa8z— madalena (@madalena) 1514306506.0
But there was still some debate. Clearly Hatch's team had read both, right?
GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch tweets that he's 'grateful' for editorial that said he had an 'unquenchable thirst for power' https://t.co/xSfHe2Wxbb— Business Insider (@Business Insider) 1514306206.0
@madalenamcneil @CarynLonz @WebbL03 @OrrinHatch @SpencerJCox @rudygobert27 They mentioned both articles.— Beth Bryson (@Beth Bryson) 1514307294.0
@madalenamcneil @maddezmom @WebbL03 @OrrinHatch @SpencerJCox @rudygobert27 Why would he thank the paper, then? The… https://t.co/10nAfaNvSk— Caryn - I know about wedges (@Caryn - I know about wedges) 1514309411.0
@CarynLonz @maddezmom @WebbL03 @OrrinHatch @SpencerJCox @rudygobert27 Because he doesn’t care what the editorial bo… https://t.co/3sFxmhtNaH— madalena (@madalena) 1514309494.0
But at the end of the day, at least everyone could agree on one thing: Hatch has got to do.
The Tribune says Hatch promised voters that 2012 would be his last campaign for Senate, but so far he's made it clear that he has no intention of honoring that promise.
But if he doesn't retire voluntarily, Utah knows what to do:
@OrrinHatch @SpencerJCox @rudygobert27 Well, Utah, you know what you’ve got to do #VoteThemOut— YellaFella will rule the world! (@YellaFella will rule the world!) 1514307254.0
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