Three Republicans in the Ohio House of Representatives launched a bid to impeach GOP Gov. Mike DeWine Monday, alleging that the coronavirus restrictions he put in place violated Ohioans’ civil liberties.
DeWine “has repeatedly proven his incompetence by providing wildly inaccurate forecasts and repeatedly misleading COVID-19 data,” the resolution said, alleging that his policies were “far worse than the virus itself.”
The resolution also accused DeWine of executive overreach, saying that his directing the Ohio Department of Health to issue restrictions aimed at containing the coronavirus was equivalent to “creating new laws.”
The articles alleged that DeWine “conspired” with Republican Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose to delay the state’s primary, originally scheduled for March 17, and illegally reschedule it for June 2 without having legislative approval. The state legislature passed a bill on April 28 requiring any primary to be conducted by mail due to the virus, Cleveland.com reported.
The lawmakers’ resolution was rejected by the far majority of Ohio Republican officials. A spokesman for DeWine told Cleveland.com that the governor “is focused on saving lives during the pandemic… not this,” while the Ohio Republican Party chair called the resolution a “baseless, feeble attempt at creating attention for themselves.”
“My priorities are to keep people safe and get our economy moving faster,” DeWine said in a press conference Tuesday.
“If there are others in the legislature who want to spend their time drawing up and resolutions and filing articles… I’d just say to them, have at it.”
Despite the articles of impeachment introduced, DeWine’s actions, including a stay-at-home order and a statewide mask mandate, have been similar to both Republican and Democratic governors in other states.
The lawmakers said that the orders violated the civil liberties of Ohioans, claiming that the mask mandate “promotes fear, turns neighbors against neighbors, and contracts the economy by making people fearful to leave their homes.”
The articles also allege that “people are more likely to infect themselves with COVID-19” with a mask on, which epidemiologists and public health experts have said is false, according to PolitiFact.
The Ohio outlet reported that the impeachment effort is unlikely to be successful. It would need to pass with a simple majority in the state House and then receive a two-thirds majority in the state Senate to remove DeWine.