Gov. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) has a message for the handful of fellow Republicans in the legislature trying to impeach him, "have at it." DeWine says leaders in Ohio should be focusing on more important issues such as protecting people's health and the economy.
The governor defends his response to the coronavirus pandemic by saying he has approached decisions from the conservative viewpoint of "preserving life."
"We're going to get through this. We don't need to lose any more than we need to lose, people who could get through this and can come out the other side and have a great life ahead no matter what age they are. We don't want to lose them," says DeWine.
There are four House Republicans looking to launch an impeachment on DeWine. The governor says he has a "great deal of respect" for the four legislators but argues the state is going through a "once in a 102-year pandemic" and that he will do what he has to in order to protect Ohioans.
"If that's how they want to spend their time. You know, I would just say to them, have at it. But my focus is to do what I'm sworn to do, and that is to protect the people of the state of Ohio. To get this economy moving faster, to save lives, that's what I'm going to do," DeWine says.
Rep. John Becker (R-Cincinnati) is leading the charge in seeking impeachment. He says DeWine has overreached his authority in his response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Becker points to delaying the March presidential primary and closing non-essential businesses as examples.
"The governor is not working with the General Assembly," Becker said. "He is, you know, some would say 'governor gone wild' and he needs to be stopped," Becker says.
Meanwhile, newly-elected House Speaker Bob Cupp (R-Lima) has rejected the idea of impeachment.
"It is clear to me that it is an imprudent attempt to escalate important policy disagreements with the governor into a state constitutional crisis. Even serious policy disagreements do not rise to the level of impeachment under our constitution," Cupp said in a written statement.
DeWine says keeping people healthy will ultimately help the economy.