Orrin Hatch grateful for ‘honor’ from Utah newspaper criticizing him

After the senator posted an image of Salt Lake Tribune, spokesman said ‘we all sincerely hope the editorial board finds joy in something beyond baseless attack’

Orrin Hatch’s tweet did not include a link to the editorial. Photograph: Joshua Roberts/Reuters

The longest serving Republican senator, Orrin Hatch, tweeted on Christmas day that he was grateful after his local paper hailed him on its front page as the “Utahn of the year”, but he made no mention of a stinging accompanying editorial.

Many were left asking if Hatch was being sarcastic or had tweeted before reading the Salt Lake Tribune’s full reasoning for the award, for the most impactful person in the state, which hit out at his part in slashing the size of Utah’s national monuments.

The paper’s editorial attacked the senator for: “His utter lack of integrity that rises from his unquenchable thirst for power.”

The Salt Lake Tribune editorial board said it also gave Hatch the title because of his key role in the dismantling of two national monuments in Utah and passing the new federal tax code. And it asked Hatch, who has been a senator for 42 years, to not run for re-election next year.

Hatch’s official Twitter account shared a photograph of the Salt Lake Tribune’s Christmas day front page, which was covered with a portrait of Hatch. “Grateful for this great Christmas honor from the Salt Lake Tribune,” a tweet sent from his account said.

Hatch’s tweet did not include a link to the piece, leading some to speculate the senator or his communications team were aware of the editorial’s contents.

“Everyone celebrates Christmas differently,” Matt Whitlock, a spokesman for Hatch, said in an email to the Guardian.

“We all sincerely hope the members of the Salt Lake Tribune editorial board find joy this holiday season in something beyond baselessly attacking the service and integrity of someone who given 40 years for the people of Utah, and served as one of the most effective…

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