SALT LAKE CITY — President Donald Trump announced his endorsement for Mitt Romney's Senate run via Twitter Monday night.
"@MittRomney has announced he is running for the Senate from the wonderful State of Utah. He will make a great Senator and worthy successor to @OrrinHatch, and has my full support and endorsement!" Trump tweeted just before 7:30 p.m. MST.
Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee who blasted Trump during the 2016 race, announced his Senate campaign in a video Friday.
Though he was one of Trump's earliest and harshest critics during the president's campaign, Romney told the Deseret News last week that he has spoken with the president multiple times in the past year and supports his domestic policies so far.
Romney responded to the tweeted endorsement, saying he appreciated the president's support.
"I hope that over the course of the campaign I also earn the support and endorsement of the people of Utah," Romney tweeted.
If elected to the seat that Hatch, R-Utah, has held since 1976, Romney has said he believes the relationships he has already built in Washington, D.C., would position him better than the average freshman senator.
In his 2 ½-minute video, Romney praised Utahns' "can-do pioneering spirit," called out federal dysfunction and pledged to take the state's values to Washington.
"Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in Washington," Romney says in the clip.
In the coming months, Romney plans to visit each of the state’s 29 counties to talk with Utahns about their priorities, issues and concerns, according to his campaign.59 comments on this story
Romney's critics in Utah have accused the former Massachusetts governor of seeking to represent a state he has little connection to. Romney says he has lived in Utah for a total of 10 years, including as a BYU student, and has been a permanent resident since 2014. He is widely known in the state for rescuing Salt Lake City's 2002 Winter Games.
Republican Larry Meyers, a St. George attorney running for the Senate seat, launched a radio ad Friday aimed at "Massachusetts Mitt Romney." And Democratic Salt Lake County Councilwoman Jenny Wilson, who began her campaign last summer, published a video of her own Friday saying the state should be represented by "a homegrown Utahn."
A UtahPolicy.com poll published in late November found that Romney would win a race for Hatch's seat by a wide margin.