Ohio's Mike DeWine is one of the most popular governors in America, thanks to his handling of the coronavirus crisis -- but his state's Republican Party has turned on him.
The veteran elected official was one of the first GOP governors to shut down his state back in mid-March, and his strong poll numbers show how widely his response has been praised, but Republican lawmakers and local party officials have turned up the pressure on him to end the lockdown, reported The Daily Beast.
“Basically he superseded the constitution of Ohio and the constitution of the United States and violated the principles of the Declaration of Independence when the founders said that governments were instituted among men to preserve life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” said Keith Threewits, executive committee chairman of the Darke County Republican Party.
State Rep. John Becker, who is pushing legislation to strip powers from the state's health director, Dr. Amy Acton, credited DeWine's transparency -- but agreed the governor had overstepped his authority in trying to halt the pandemic.
“When it comes to canceling an election, when it comes to suspending civil liberties, when it comes to shutting down private businesses, all of that's illegal,” said Becker, a Union Township Republican.
The outbreak had slowed substantially by the end of April, but the number of new cases has been steadily rising since the start of May.
“Governor DeWine… initially the goal was to flatten the curve and that is exactly what we have done!" state Rep. Craig Riedel posted on Facebook. "Stop moving the goal posts on us!"
Some lawmakers have hurled not-so-thinly veiled anti-Semitic attacks against Acton, who is Jewish.
“Is this America or Amerika?” state Rep. Nino Vitale posted on his Facebook page. “Your basic human rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness do not come from an unelected Globalist Health Director, who signed the order in the dark of night. Your basic human rights are inalienable and cannot be bought, sold, traded or taken from you.”
The state's Democratic Party chairman, David Pepper, has been an early and outspoken supporter of DeWine's handling of the crisis, but he's concerned the governor is starting to cave into the loudest voices in his party.
“There's growing unease that he's pushing more quickly and being egged on by these right-wingers,” Pepper said.