W. Pa. Rep. Metcalfe files impeachment articles to ‘remove dictator Wolf’ over pandemic response

    Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Butler, the most powerful House lawmaker on environmental matters, speaks at a DEP rule making board meeting.

    Carrying through on a threat he made last month, state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Butler, has filed formal articles of impeachment against Gov. Tom Wolf for his management of the statewide COVID-19 emergency.

    “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, the chairman of the House Energy & Environmental Resources Committee, said in a statement Tuesday.

    “Wolf’s unconstitutional dictates and Orwellian overreach into our lives and the marketplace has caused immeasurable harm and hardship for far more Pennsylvanians than the virus!”

    Through midday Monday, the state Department of Health had reported 79,121 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in all 67 counties. The illness has so far claimed the lives of 6,243 people statewide, according to Health Department data.

    In his statement, Metcalfe blamed Wolf 3,000 deaths at nursing homes statewide. The administration has been roundly criticized for its decision to place medically stable COVID-19 patients in nursing homes.

    Metcalfe claimed to have 24 co-sponsors for the five articles of impeachment he’d filed.

     

    From the Capital-Star’s Stephen Caruso:

    Metcalfe first began seeking support for his impeachment resolution in May.

    During a news conference last month, Wolf dismissed Metcalfe’s resolution, telling reporters that, “I’m no lawyer, but I can’t wait to see the legal arguments that might be put forward in that case.”

    Impeachment would require a majority vote in the state House, while removal would require a two-thirds vote in the Senate.

    As the Capital-Star’s Caruso reported at the time, the move — and rhetoric — is not unusual for the oft-headline leading Metcalfe. In May, he called for Pennsylvania’s district attorneys to not enforce Wolf’s public health orders, which he called “unconstitutional dictates.”

    Metcalfe is also known for inviting white nationalists and climate change skeptics to testify in committee hearings, blocking Pennsylvania’s first openly gay lawmaker from making a speech celebrating same-sex marriage equality in 2013, and hardball legislative tactics to block Democratic proposals from passing.

    This isn’t Metcalfe’s first dive into impeachment. In 2014, Metcalfe led a push to impeach former Democratic Attorney General Kathleen Kane for not enforcing the state’s same-sex marriage law.

    Kane would later resign in scandal, but the House still declined to impeach her.

    Last year, Metcalfe introduced yet another impeachment resolution for Democratic Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto after the city passed a number of gun control laws that violated state statute.

    John L. Micek
    John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. He's been covering Pennsylvania politics for more than 20 years and most recently served as Opinion Editor at PennLive/The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa. Micek's commentary is syndicated to more than 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. And he's a regular contributor to a host of broadcast outlets in Pennsylvania and abroad.