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Washington • Sen. Orrin Hatch is no Donald Trump when it comes to use of social media perhaps, some might say, that's a good thing but the Utah Republican's office has upped his game of late, joking about how he'll use dietary supplements to stay alive forever and poking back at harsh criticism with humor.
After a Hatch detractor tweeted recently that Mormons have been trying to overthrow the U.S. government since the faith's founding, Hatch's aides responded that it was true.
"This is the plan, one plate of funeral potatoes at a time," the office wrote, referring to the quintessential Utah/Mormon dish.
Trump's tweets have captivated and sometimes unnerved the Washington establishment, even as White House officials have urged the president to exercise caution in his tweets. With nearly 32 million followers, Trump's Twitter account allows him to speak directly to his base.
Many a politician has turned to social media to get around the mainstream media, some using comedy to break through the static.
Until this past year or so, Hatch's office has been fairly straightforward. But the new strategy, aides say, is to try to mimic the senator's own sense of humor, which isn't a trait that he's publicly known for, though privately he often cracks jokes. Unlike some members of Congress, Hatch rarely tweets himself.
But most of the more humorous tweets, an aide said, come from Hatch's own comments.
This week, CNN's Jake Tapper tweeted that a Washington bar would be hosting a watch party for former FBI Director James Comey's much anticipated testimony. "Order the shot and ambulance chaser," Tapper tweeted.
"Do they serve a non-alcoholic version of that? Asking for a friend," Hatch's office tweeted.
On Vice President Mike Pence's birthday, the office tweeted a picture of Hatch and Pence with little party hats superimposed on their heads. The office even drew in some balloons sprouting from Salt Lake Tribune columnist Robert Gehrke's head.
When a self-described constituent tweeted that he hated the senator and hopes "he dies painfully when the time comes," the office didn't flinch.
"The plan is to live forever with the help of essential oils and dietary supplements but we'll just have to see," Hatch's folks responded.
When a reporter recently tweeted a photo of a dog hanging out on the wood-paneled dais of the Senate Finance Committee, she noted, "Nobody tell Orrin Hatch about this dog."
His response: "There have been worse things on this dais."
Hatch has about 35,500 followers on Twitter. That's about a tenth of the 315,000 that his Utah colleague, GOP Sen. Mike Lee.