Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, had high praise for President Donald Trump during a White House ceremony Wednesday that marked the passage of the GOP's tax reform legislation.
The 83-year-old Hatch began serving in the Senate in 1977 and has chaired the Senate Finance Committee since 2015. Trump asked him to speak during the Wednesday event because of his efforts on tax reform.
"Mr. President, I have to say that you're living up to everything I thought you would," Hatch said. "You're one heck of a leader. We're all benefitting from it. This bill could not have passed without you."
The White House lawn grew silent as Hatch heaped praise on Trump and the lawmakers who helped get the tax bill passed.
"This is just the beginning," Hatch said. "You stop and think about it, this president hasn't even been in office for a year. Look at all the things he's been able to get done by sheer will in many ways. I just hope that we get behind him every way we can, and we'll get this country turned around in ways that will benefit the whole world.
"Above all, benefit our people. Bring us all to a realization of how really great America really is and how the rest of the world depends on us."
Hatch then referenced both his upbringing and his faith in God.
"I came from very humble roots," Hatch said. "And I have to say, that this is one of the great privileges of my life, to stand here on the White House lawn with the president of the United States, who I love and appreciate so much, and with these wonderful colleagues and Cabinet members that stand behind us. To see all of you and realize that you care too.
"All I can say is that God loves this country. We all know it. We wouldn't be where we are without him. And we love all of you. We're going to keep fighting and we're going to make this the greatest presidency that we've seen not only in a generation, but maybe ever. God bless all of you."
Hatch's future in Washington is not entirely clear. He has committed to running for re-election in 2018, but there has been talk former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney could take his place on the ballot if Hatch decides to retire.
Hatch first endorsed Trump for president in May 2016.
The House voted to pass the tax reform legislation Tuesday, although it was forced to revote Wednesday because of a technicality. The Senate also passed the bill, which will go through a brief legislative process before Trump is able to sign it into law.
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