The Republican leader in the Michigan House of Representatives ended talk of impeachment proceedings against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday amid an ongoing debate about the governor's authority to issue coronavirus restrictions.
Earlier, three Republican members of the state House introduced a resolution for impeachment against Whitmer, charging that her executive orders were unconstitutional and accusing the governor of "using state resources to reward political allies."
"Today I introduced Articles of Impeachment against Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer," Rep. Beau LaFave tweeted Wednesday.
"The four articles of impeachment against Gov. Whitmer include failing to respect the separation of powers by exercising power granted to the legislative branch, violating the constitutional rights of the people of Michigan, issuing executive orders against the interests of the people and state, and using state resources to reward political allies," he wrote.
rights of the people of Michigan, issuing executive orders against the interests of the people and state, and using… https://t.co/WU1tNtBvht— Beau M. LaFave (@Beau M. LaFave) 1605741248.0
The Michigan Constitution's impeachment process is similar to how impeachment works at the federal level. The state House of Representatives would file articles of impeachment against the governor and hold a vote. If a simple majority of lawmakers votes to impeach, then the state Senate would conduct a trial. Two-thirds of state senators are needed to convict.
But according to House Speaker Lee Chatfield, a Republican, impeachment proceedings will not advance in the House while he is the leader.
"It's no secret that I have disagreed with this governor. I have debated a lot with this governor. I have many differences with how the governor has handled COVID. We have a time and place to deal with differences — that's at the ballot box. The voters of the state of Michigan will have a chance to choose in 2022," Chatfield said in a statement reported by WOOD-TV.
"Republicans are not the party of people who impeach just because they disagree with someone. We just saw that in Washington. We're not going to do that in the state of Michigan. With the facts that we have, the impeachment resolution is not going to get a vote on the House floor. It's not the right way to deal with this situation or this disagreement.
"The idea of impeachment would face another, likely insurmountable, obstacle even if it did proceed," Chatfield continued. "In the Senate there are 22 Republican and 16 Democrats. It would take 25 votes to convict. Even if the process was to make it out of the House, which it clearly will not, getting the votes in the Senate would be difficult if not impossible."