SALT LAKE CITY — Sen. Orrin Hatch isn't pulling his endorsement of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, but the Utah senator isn't hitting the campaign trail for him either.
Rather, Hatch is working hard to make sure Republicans maintain a majority in the Senate through fundraising and campaigning.
"I've been all over the country working for my colleagues. I've raised more money than any Republican in the Senate, except possibly (Senate Majority Leader Mitch) McConnell, and I've given more money than virtually everyone in the Senate except one or two," he told reporters Monday.
Hatch has raised more than $3.6 million for the National Republican Senatorial Committee and has given $620,000 from his own campaign funds to the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the Republican National Committee. He also donated $255,000 directly to Senate candidates.
"Sen. Hatch has done more than almost anyone this cycle to help GOP Senate candidates," according to Andrea Bozek, senatorial committee communications director.
In recent weeks, Hatch has hosted events for five GOP senators seeking re-election. He has held several fundraisers for Republican Rep. Joe Heck, of Nevada, who is running to replace Democratic Sen. Harry Reid.
Hatch raised money in Texas and California for GOP Senate efforts last week and will do the same on the East Coast this week.
"Whoever is elected president in November, it's critical that we retain Republican control of both the Senate and the House," Hatch said. "Congress must serve as a check on abuses of executive power and restrain efforts by a president of either party to act unilaterally. Only with Republican congressional majorities can we hope to prevent far-left policies and nominees, and help advance conservative reforms of any kind."
Hatch earlier this year said he would do what he could to get Trump elected. He said during the Republican National Convention that he saw the billionaire businessman "growing" but also asked him to tone down the rhetoric.
The senator recently condemned Trump's vulgar comments about women that surfaced in a video earlier this month as "offensive and disgusting," adding there is no excuse for such "degrading" behavior.
Rob Porter, Hatch's chief of staff, said Hatch has to sought avoid encouraging the narrative of a "civil war" within the Republican Party and doesn't want to make it harder to elect conservative candidates down ballot. Like House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and other GOP Senate leaders, Hatch is working to get congressional Republicans elected across the country, he said.
"Whatever the presidential outcome, he is determined to help rebuild the Republican Party and the conservative movement in the aftermath of the 2016 election," Porter said.31 comments on this story
Hatch said he wants to get people elected who respect Utah points of view and the Constitution.
"We're in danger here. I have to say, in real danger. There are a lot of people who are trying to take over the country who are really not friends of the Constitution," he said.
Hatch said his efforts have included some arm twisting.
"I've done some of that too," he said. "It's kind of expected when you're president pro tem of the Senate and one of the top three or four people in the whole place."