Michigan House speaker shuts door on Whitmer impeachment talk

Lee Chatfield called it a distraction from what the state needs
From left: Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, House Speaker...
From left: Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, House Speaker Lee Chatfield(WLUC)
Published: Nov. 19, 2020 at 10:47 AM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield has slapped down calls by some Republican lawmakers that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer should be impeached.

The Levering Republican on Wednesday called the effort a distraction from what needs to be done in the state.

Milford Township Republican Rep. Matt Maddock began the talk of impeaching Whitmer after health director Robert Gordon implemented the three-week shut down of parts of Michigan’s economy in an effort to stem the accelerating spread of COVID-19.

Maddock said Whitmer “crossed the line” on COVID-19 restrictions without legislative input.

State Rep. Beau LaFave, a Republican from Iron Mountain, introduced legislation on Wednesday to begin impeachment proceedings. He believes the Governor has exceeded her authority in issuing orders that are not in the best interests of Michiganders.

However, Chatfield doesn’t plan to bring up the impeachment legislation in the House during the current term, which ends Dec. 31. He said an effort to impeach Whitmer would lack merit and would be every bit as “shameful” as the impeachment efforts against President Donald Trump.

Michigan’s impeachment process for the governor is similar to the process in Congress for impeaching a president. The State House would approve specific charges against the governor and present them to the State Senate, which would vote on whether to remove the governor from office.

According to state law, it would take a two-thirds vote of support from the Senate to remove and convict the offending officer. Democrats control 42% of the Senate seats, so finding enough votes to convict Whitmer would be unlikely.

Whitmer’s spokeswoman issued a statement Wednesday saying the governor is focused on saving lives, not partisan politics or those who don’t want to mask up for the greater good.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.