A Republican state representative from Central Pennsylvania has introduced a resolution calling for the impeachment of Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, a Republican from Butler County, introduced House Resolution 915 on Tuesday after issuing a co-sponsorship memorandum on the matter last month. The resolution gained 24 co-sponsors, but none were from Bucks County.
The five articles of impeachment are over Wolf’s disaster declaration, forced closure of “non-life-sustaining” businesses, the state not being prepared for the influx of unemployment claims, inability to protect residents of nursing homes from COVID-19, and withholding “critical information” from the public, press, and lawmakers.
Metcalfe has been vocal against Wolf’s COVID-19 mitigation measures and has said they went too far. In a press release announcing his resolution to impeach the governor for “misbehavior in office,” the lawmaker’s office called the governor a “petulant socialist dictator.”
“While these are certainly unprecedented and chaotic times, Gov. Tom Wolf must be held accountable for his actions that have harmed so many of our citizens and violated so many of our rights,” Metcalfe said in a statement, adding the mitigation measures caused “immeasurable harm and hardship for far more Pennsylvanians than the virus.”
A number of Republicans across the state have publicly said the governor’s mitigation measures went too far.
The Republican-led House of Representatives and Senate passed a resolution last week that would end the governor’s disaster emergency. A battle over the issue is headed to the courts.
President Donald Trump, a Republican, called for Wolf to reopen the state faster last month.
Since the pandemic began in the state, close to 80,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases have been reported and roughly 6,200 Pennsylvanians have died. The majority of deaths have been connected to long-term care centers.
Since issuing a stay-at-home order in March, Wolf and the state began easing COVID-19 restrictions in May as case counts began to drop. The governor has thanked residents for their efforts to stay home and practice social distancing, which officials have said has reduced the number of cases.
PennLive.com reported that a spokesperson for Wolf responded to the impeachment articles by saying the governor’s approach to the pandemic worked as new cases drop while other states that reopened sooner are seeing increases in case counts.
“This is just the latest example of the House Republicans wasting time instead of helping to protect Pennsylvanians during this public health crisis,” Lyndsay Kensinger, Wolf’s spokesperson, said in a statement to PennLive.com.
A Fox News poll from April found 69 percent of Pennsylvanians approved of Wolf’s handling of the pandemic, while a May Washington Post poll showed 72 percent of residents approved of the governor’s handling of the pandemic. A May scientific poll from SurveyMonkey showed that Wolf had a higher approval rating than Trump.