News by VICE

Orrin Hatch apparently didn't read the editorial naming him Utahn of the Year

The title wasn’t an honor at all, which the Salt Lake Tribune makes exceedingly clear in the opening paragraphs.

by Carter Sherman
Dec 26 2017, 7:25pm

Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch thought he was getting a Christmas honor, but it was really more like a ton of coal in his stocking.

On Monday, the veteran Republican senator tweeted a thank-you to the Salt Lake Tribune, Utah’s largest newspaper, for the “great Christmas honor” of naming him “Utahn of the Year.” Hatch even included a photo of the paper’s front-page portrait of him.

There was just one issue with Hatch’s tweet: The title wasn’t an honor at all, which the Salt Lake Tribune makes exceedingly clear in the opening paragraphs of its editorial.

“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,” the Tribune notes, “that he has been a senator from Utah longer than three-fifths of the state’s population has been alive.

“It has everything to do with recognizing:

  • Hatch’s part in the dramatic dismantling of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments.

  • His role as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee in passing a major overhaul of the nation’s tax code.

  • His utter lack of integrity that rises from his unquenchable thirst for power.”

Apparently, Hatch didn’t read that part.

He also must’ve missed the part where the newspaper slams the Trump administration’s decision to shrink two of Utah’s national monuments as “anti-environmental, anti-Native American and, yes, anti-business” with “no constitutional, legal or environmental logic.”

And Hatch must’ve even skipped over the part of the editorial where the Tribune calls for the 83-year-old senator to step down at the end of his current term.

Hatch, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, has long sought to reform the United States’ tax code. And now that he’s done it, the Tribune writes, “perhaps the most significant move of Hatch’s career is the one that should, if there is any justice, end it.” Because Hatch has effectively neutralized all potential opponents and spent decades becoming more and more enmeshed in Washington, D.C. political intrigue, the newspaper goes on, his political career is at this point “basically a theft from the Utah electorate.”

“It would be good for Utah if Hatch, having finally caught the Great White Whale of tax reform, were to call it a career,” the Tribune writes. “If he doesn’t, the voters should end it for him.”