GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The ongoing debate of what the proper response from the state to COVID-19 should be has created new — or highlighted existing — divisions between Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Republican-led Legislature.
It has gotten so bad that earlier this week, some Republicans were calling to impeach Whitmer.
Impeachment in Michigan works very much like it does at the federal level. The House would present case and a simple majority would send it to the Senate for trial. There, two-thirds of the Senate would have to agree to convict.
That’s how it would go — except it won’t.
House Speaker Lee Chatfield, R-Levering, said no impeachment proceedings will take place on his watch.
“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,” he said. “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. 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.