Sen. Orrin Hatch's apologies don't fix anything

Tuesday , May 08, 2018 - 10:30 PM1 comment

STANDARD-EXAMINER EDITORIAL BOARD

It’s May, which means only one thing — it’s time for Sen. Orrin Hatch to apologize for saying something insensitive, uninformed or stupid.

Again.

In February, Hatch reflexively attacked two ex-wives of White House aide Rob Porter after they accused Porter of physical and emotional abuse.

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“It’s incredibly discouraging to see such a vile attack on such a decent man,” Hatch said in a statement distributed by the White House.

As additional details emerged, Porter — Hatch’s former chief of staff — quickly resigned. Hatch, for his part, expressed vague regret for defending Porter and wrote letters of apology to Jennie Willoughby and Colbie Holderness, whose stories Hatch initially dismissed.

During a March speech at a conservative think tank, Hatch called those who supported the Affordable Care Act “the stupidest dumbass people I’ve ever met.”

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Hatch immediately backtracked, claiming he’d made a “poorly worded joke” that was “not reflective of my actual feelings towards my friends on the other side.”

In April, Sen. Tammy Duckworth gave birth to a daughter and the Senate changed its rules to allow babies on the floor of the chamber.

"But what if there are 10 babies on the floor of the Senate?" Hatch asked, prompting his staff to once again insist that Hatch was only joking.

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He couldn’t use that excuse again this week.

U.S. Sen. John McCain, who is fighting an aggressive form of brain cancer, made it clear to friends and family that he didn’t want President Donald Trump to attend his funeral.

Hatch called McCain’s request “ridiculous,” defending Trump as a “very good man.”

McCain served as a Navy pilot during the Vietnam War. He spent more than five years as prisoner in the brutal Hanoi Hilton, two of them in solitary confinement.

While campaigning for president in 2015, Trump dismissed McCain’s military service as a failure.

“He’s not a war hero,” Trump said. “He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

Said the man who avoided fighting in Vietnam thanks to five deferments, including one for bone spurs in his heels.

If McCain doesn’t want Trump at his funeral, it’s none of Hatch’s business — as Hatch realized Tuesday.

“I shouldn’t have said anything yesterday,” he told The Washington Post.

He also sent McCain a letter apologizing for his remarks.

After seven terms in the U.S. Senate, you’d expect Hatch to understand the value of discretion.

But clearly he doesn’t. He believes it’s fine to say whatever he thinks, no matter how outrageous, because he can always apologize.

His apologies don’t fix anything. He needs to spend the last few months of his career focusing on his job instead of running his mouth.

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