Four Ohio GOP lawmakers are leading an effort to impeach Republican Gov. Mike DeWine over his alleged “abuse of power” during the coronavirus pandemic.
State Rep. John Becker introduced 12 articles of impeachment against DeWine on Monday. Becker was joined by state Reps. Candice Keller, Nino Vitale, and Paul Zeltwanger, according to Ohio’s 19 News. Becker also accused DeWine of “meddling” in the presidential primary and harassing people with strict regulations, especially business owners.
“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’s office said in a statement. “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.”
“Additionally, Governor DeWine had the further audacity to include congregants at places of worship, forcing citizens to choose between worshiping their God and worshiping at the alter [sic] of unbridled government. Many Ohioans find the controversial mask mandate offensive, degrading, humiliating, and insulting,” the statement continued.
“Rather than hearing the cries of Ohioans, Governor DeWine continues to stifle those cries by finding more inventive ways to use masks to muffle the voices of the people,” Becker’s office said. “He continues to have callous disregard for the fact that his isolation policies have led to a shockingly high number of suicides, alarming rates of drug abuse, persistently high unemployment, and the forced abandonment of the elderly by their loved ones.”
DeWine dismissed the impeachment effort, which has been threatened before by Becker, in a news conference on Monday.
“At some point, this foolishness has got to stop,” DeWine said, according to The Washington Post. “I’m not talking about most Ohioans — just a small number of people who for whatever reason just continue to think and act this is some big joke and this is all some fantasy.”
Before the pandemic, Ohio was already recognized as a hotspot of the opioid epidemic, and evidence suggests that opioid abuse in the state has gotten worse since the outbreak of the pandemic and subsequent shutdowns that cut off or distanced people from many opioid addiction services.
“In Franklin County, Ohio, the number of deadly overdoses through August of this year nearly matched the total number of opioid deaths in all of 2019,” The Daily Wire reported in September.
Becker’s impeachment push in Ohio comes on the heels of a similar effort in Michigan as GOP lawmakers fight to impeach Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer over her response to the pandemic and strict lockdown orders that have continued despite a state Supreme Court ruling restricting her use of emergency powers. As The Daily Wire reported:
Three GOP Michigan members of the House of Representatives introduced House Resolution 324, which calls for the impeachment of Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
Reps. Beau LaFave, Matt Maddock and Daire Rendon wrote in the resolution: “Gretchen E. Whitmer has acted in conflict with her constitutional duties as Governor. She has exceeded her constitutional authority, violated the constitutional rights of the people of Michigan, issued orders that are not in the best interests of the people of this state, and used the Pandemic as an opportunity to reward political allies.”
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