‘American Original’: Biden Remembers Orrin Hatch As An ‘Energetic, Sharp-Elbowed’ Man Of ‘Deep Faith’


President Joe Biden gave a statement Sunday following the news that former Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) had passed away at the age of 88. Biden, as Vice President, presided over Hatch in 2013 as he swore in for his final term in the Senate.

Hatch, whose tenure as the longest-serving Republican senator in history (1977-2019) overlapped with Biden’s time serving in the deliberative body, died on Saturday. A statement from the Hatch Foundation read, in part, “Upon his retirement, Senator Hatch held the distinction of having passed more legislation into law than any other Senator alive. Through his relentless work ethic, Hatch earned a reputation as one of the most effective and bipartisan lawmakers of all time. In total, he sponsored or cosponsored more than 750 bills that became law.”

“Biden on the passing of his friend, late GOP UT Sen Orrin Hatch. Biden says Hatch “never humored a bully, or shied from a challenge … saw that energetic, sharp-elbowed Orrin in the many battles we had over tax policy, the right of workers to join a union, and many others,” Fox News Congressional reporter Chad Pergram tweeted.

“Biden: Senator Hatch was also a man of deep faith; a gentle soul who wrote songs and poems. This was the Orrin who looked out for the people who often didn’t have a voice in our laws and our country … He was, quite simply, an American original,” Pergram’s second tweet added.

Hatch, who was often praised for his willingness to work across the aisle, lamented the growing divide between the parties during his retirement announcement in 2018.

“My heart is heavy because it aches for the times when we actually lived up to our reputation as the world’s greatest deliberative body. It longs for the days in which Democrats and Republicans would meet on middle ground rather than retreat to partisan trenches,” he said.

Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) noted his willingness to work with her despite their political — and other — differences of opinion in a tribute posted Saturday evening, just after the news broke.

“Senator Hatch was kind to me and we worked together well. There were a lot of differences including party, height, age…you name it…but somehow we always looked for common ground. Prayers for his family today,” she tweeted.

David Axelrod, who served in former President Barack Obama’s White House, also remembered Hatch for his kind words — offered even to those who often disagreed with him.

“At a low moment during my WH years, when a barbed piece about me had been written, I got an unexpected call from Sen. Orrin Hatch, whom I knew, but not well. ‘Don’t let the bastards get you down,’ he said,” Axelrod tweeted. “It was a kindness, unusual in Washington, I’ll never forget. May he RIP.”

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