Ohio lawmakers officially filed articles of impeachment against Gov. Mike DeWine on Monday, prompting him to slam the move in a press conference the same day.
The articles were drafted in August as a response to DeWine’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. They were primarily sponsored by Ohio Rep. John Becker (R-Union Township) and co-sponsored by Reps. Candice Keller (R-Middletown), Paul Zeltwanger (R-Glenford) and A. Nino Vitale (R-Champaign).
In a statement to the media, Becker went after DeWine not only for coronavirus restrictions, but for “meddling” in a presidential election.
“Governor DeWine’s mismanagement, malfeasance, misfeasance, abuse of power, and other crimes include, but are not limited to, meddling in the conduct of a presidential primary election, arbitrarily closing and placing curfews on certain businesses, while allowing other businesses to remain open,” Becker said, according to local media. “He weaponized the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation to bully and harass businesses and the people; to enforce a statewide mask mandate and other controversial measures of dubious ‘value,’ making Ohio a hostile work environment.”
The Ohio House Speaker Bob Cupp (R-Lima) said he opposed the impeachment when Becker first pitched it in August, calling it at the time an “imprudent attempt” to escalate disagreement with DeWine to a “state constitutional crisis,” Cincinnati.com reports.
“Even serious policy disagreements do not rise to the level of impeachment under our constitution,” Cupp said in a statement.
DeWine also responded to the news of the official filing of the articles during a Monday press conference, saying that he would like for the articles’ sponsors to listen to nurses.
“I’d like for them to watch what we just watched,” DeWine said, referencing the health officials that participated in the conference. “I’d like for them to go in and to talk to some nurses who are frontline nurses, who are dealing with people who are dying.”
DeWine also said he wanted the sponsors to talk to people who had lost family members as a result of the pandemic.
“At some point, this foolishness has got to stop. I’m not talking about most of Ohio — just a small number of people who just continue, for whatever reason, to think that this and act as if this is some big joke and this is all some fantasy…There’s a small number of people out there making a lot of noise, and I just wish they’d go spend some time talking to somebody who suffered through this, somebody who sees this suffering every day.”
Ohio residents can find out more about the impeachment process and which representatives support removing the governor at impeachdewine.com, which is sponsored by Becker.
Read the articles of impeachment here.
Watch Governor DeWine’s press briefing:
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Jordyn Pair is a reporter with The Ohio Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair.