Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch honored by President Trump with nation’s highest civilian medal

(Manuel Balce Ceneta | AP Photo) President Donald Trump presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House, in Washington, Friday, Nov. 16, 2018.

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Friday bestowed the nation’s highest civilian honor on Sen. Orrin Hatch, gushing about the Utah Republican’s contributions to America during his 42 years in office, The Salt Lake Tribune reported Friday.

Trump gave Hatch the Medal of Freedom at a White House ceremony, calling him a “great friend of mine.”

“He liked me right from the beginning and therefore I like him,” Trump said, going off script as the audience laughed. “That’s the way it is. I’m not supposed to say it, but that’s the way life goes.”

It was fair payback for Hatch, who has showered Trump with praise — arguing he could be the best president ever — and stood by Trump’s actions and provocative rhetoric as a candidate and president.

Click here to read the full story on The Salt Lake Tribune.