WOODS CROSS — Sen. Orrin Hatch “feels badly if some in the audience took his comments in a different vein than which they were intended.”
Hatch’s Utah Communications Director Heather Barney was referring to some people who have criticized the senator’s comments made during a Memorial Day program event in Woods Cross.
“I’m not ready to relinquish America’s number one position in the world. We need to keep the spirit of America,” The Clipper quoted Hatch as saying.
Utah’s senior senator also touched on the Hobby Lobby case where the arts and crafts giant is fighting against having to provide insurance coverage that would cover contraceptive use by employees.
“I hope the Supreme Court won’t screw up,” Hatch side of the nine-member body where a vote could go 5-4 either way.
Barney said his 18-minute speech talked about “the love he has for our country and our nation’s veterans and the sacrifices they have made for our country.”
Some state veterans officials and others have said his remarks were inappropriate for such a setting.
“Interspersed in his comments were thoughts on specific freedoms he holds dear, such as religious freedom,” Barney said. “He was likening it to the rights our nation’s veterans have fought for and the concern he has that some of our freedoms are eroding.”
She emphasized Hatch’s main intent was “to honor our veterans and thank them for their service and their willingness to fight for the freedoms we enjoy.”
The seven-term senator spoke of the emotional experience it is to visit a military cemetery. He also related the experience of his brother, Jesse, being shot down in World War II.
In various news reports, veterans advocates said it was “inappropriate to inject politics” into a day where the sacrifices of military members are commemorated.