Biden on Hatch: I Saw Both His 'Soft Side,' 'Tough Side' Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, participates in a reenacted swearing-in with US Vice President Joe Biden on January 3, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Jewel Samad/AFP via Getty Images)
By Eric Mack | Sunday, 24 April 2022 01:08 PM
President Joe Biden remembered the late Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, on Sunday, saying he saw and came to "appreciate" the conservative's "soft side" and his "tough side."
"Jill and I and the entire Biden family are saddened to learn of the passing of Orrin Hatch, the longest-serving senator in Utah's history, and the longest-serving Republican senator in our nation's history," Biden wrote in a statement Sunday. "Orrin Hatch once shared in an interview that he had a soft side, and he had a tough side. To serve with Orrin, as I did for over three decades, was to see — and appreciate — both.
"He was the fighter who carried with him the memory of his humble upbringing near Pittsburgh, who never humored a bully, or shied from a challenge."
Biden's statement hailed Hatch having sponsored and co-sponsored more legislation that any senator in U.S. history.
"I 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," Biden's statement continued.
"At the same time, Sen. Hatch was also a man of deep faith; a gentle soul who wrote songs and poems, and shared them with friends, colleagues, and the world. This was the Orrin who looked out for the people who often didn't have a voice in our laws and our country."
Hatch "was, quite simply, an American original," Biden concluded.
Biden, 79, was first elected to the Senate in 1972. Hatch, 88, was initially elected to the Senate four years later in 1976.