Hatch office dismisses scathing Tribune editorial as click bait

Spokesman denounces baseless attack on ‘one of the most effective lawmakers of all time.’<br>

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Senator Orrin Hatch answers questions about the phone call he had just taken from President Donald Trump telling him he would approve a recommendation to trim the boundaries of the Bears Ears National Monument on Friday, Oct. 27, 2017.

Sen. Orrin Hatch’s office responded to a scathing Salt Lake Tribune editorial by dismissing it as a baseless attack meant only to attract clicks to its website.

“Everyone celebrates Christmas differently,” said Hatch spokesman Matt Whitlock in a statement. “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 [has] given 40 years for the people of Utah, and served as one of the most effective lawmakers of all time just to satisfy their unquenchable thirst for clicks.”

The newspaper’s editorial, published Sunday, offered an explanation for the senator’s selection as the Tribune’s “Utahn of the Year.” Saying the designation was intended to single out the newsmaker who had “done the most ... for good or for ill,” the editorial board clearly came down on the side of the latter.

It called out the seven-term Hatch for “his utter lack of integrity that rises from his unquenchable thirst for power.”

The editorial also urged — as it has several times previously — for him to hang it up after his current term. But it said he appears to have every intention of running next year, calling his promise in 2012 to make that his last campaign “a lie.”

Hatch, in a Christmas Day tweet, had said it was an honor to be named the newspaper’s Utahn of the Year and provided a picture of the print edition’s front page, which included a news story about the selection.

But a number of news outlets and online critics called out Hatch for referring to “the honor” of the Tribune’s designation as the editorial board was slamming him.