Ohio Republicans draft articles of impeachment against GOP governor over coronavirus orders

Three Republicans in the Ohio House have prepared articles of impeachment against Gov. Mike DeWineMike DeWineOvernight Health Care: US coronavirus deaths hit 200,000 | Ginsburg's death puts future of ObamaCare at risk | Federal panel delays vote on initial COVID-19 vaccine distribution White House seeks to change subject from 200K COVID-19 deaths Trump supporters boo GOP Ohio governor at rally MORE (R), alleging he violated residents’ civil liberties with orders aimed at stemming the spread of the coronavirus.

The resolution drafted by three state lawmakers — GOP Reps. John Becker, Nino Vitale and Paul Zeltwanger — includes 10 articles of impeachment against DeWine, Cleveland.com reported on Monday.

The allegations claim DeWine’s administration implemented unconstitutional orders amid the pandemic.

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DeWine “has repeatedly proven his incompetence by providing wildly inaccurate forecasts and repeatedly misleading COVID-19 data; and committed misfeasance and malfeasance with his policy prescriptions, which have proven to be far worse than the virus itself,” the resolution states.

It accuses the governor of violating the separation of powers by having the Ohio Department of Health issue orders outside the scope of its authority that are “tantamount to creating new laws" and having the Ohio Department of Education close schools. 

The articles also allege DeWine “conspired” with Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R) to cancel the March 17 primary election and illegally schedule it without legislative approval on June 2. The outlet noted that the Ohio legislature passed a law on April 28 requiring a mail-in primary due to the health crisis.

The GOP lawmakers also target DeWine over a series of measures that other governors across the country have implemented per recommendations from health officials.

They argue that DeWine violated Ohioans' civil liberties by issuing a stay-at-home order and requiring them to wear masks, claiming the face-covering rule “promotes fear, turns neighbors against neighbors, and contracts the economy by making people fearful to leave their homes.” 

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The resolution also claims that “people are more likely to infect themselves with COVID-19” if they’re wearing a mask, something that experts have disputed as “dangerous nonsense.”

DeWine spokesman Dan Tierney brushed off the impeachment push in a comment to Cleveland.com.

“Gov. DeWine is focused on saving lives during the pandemic. He’s focused on the economy and getting Ohioans back to work,” Tierney said. “That’s what he’s focused on — not this.”

The Ohio Republican Party chair also issued a scathing condemnation of the trio of conservatives, calling the impeachment resolution a “baseless, feeble attempt at creating attention for themselves.”

“It is despicable that anyone who considers themself to be conservative would make an attempt to impeach Governor DeWine,” Jane Timken said in a statement. “In a time of harsh political division, and an important election year, Republicans should be united. Ohio and the world have witnessed an unprecedented global pandemic — one that Governor DeWine has done a great job at leading us through.”

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The outlet noted that it is very unlikely that the resolution will be successful in ousting DeWine from office.

A majority of the Ohio House would need to approve the resolution and then two-thirds of the Ohio Senate would then have to vote to convict him.

State leaders have been grappling with how to address the COVID-19 pandemic, which has infected more than 5.7 million people in the U.S., according to a database from Johns Hopkins University.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D), Oregon Gov. Kate BrownKate BrownPac-12 moves toward 'return to competition' after Big Ten announces resumption of football season Oregon opens first mobile morgue amid wildfires Sunday shows - Trump team defends coronavirus response MORE (D) and Michigan Gov. Gretchen WhitmerGretchen WhitmerCoronavirus lockdowns work Michigan resident puts toilet on front lawn with sign 'Place mail in ballots here' Sunday shows preview: Justice Ginsburg dies, sparking partisan battle over vacancy before election MORE (D) have all faced lawsuits over their coronavirus-related actions.

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSecond GOP senator to quarantine after exposure to coronavirus GOP senator to quarantine after coronavirus exposure The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by National Industries for the Blind - Trump seeks to flip 'Rage' narrative; Dems block COVID-19 bill MORE (R-Ky.) in July called for the impeachment of New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Trump, GOP allies prepare for SCOTUS nomination this week Fearless Girl statue in NYC dressed in lace collar to honor Ruth Bader Ginsburg NYT editorial board remembers Ginsburg: She 'will forever have two legacies' MORE (D) over his handling of the state's coronavirus outbreak.