RALEIGH — On Monday, July 6, ReOpenNC announced it was launching an effort to impeach Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.
“We are demanding all members of the NCGA, regardless of party, to uphold their oath of office by impeaching Roy Cooper,” Ashley Smith, co- founder of ReOpenNC, said in a statement. “We are demanding they publicly affirm our calls to impeach Cooper.”
Smith also said, “As members of ReOpenNC, we will not vote for politicians who do not uphold their oath of office.” She said that politicians on both sides of the aisle have forgotten they serve the people.
The group is calling for elected officials to publicly confirm their support for their impeachment effort.
“We demanded members either confirm or deny their willingness to participate and if ignored, our nearly 80,000 will take action at the polls,” Smith said.
Smith says that they received a “Yes, absolutely” response from House Deputy Majority Whip Pat McElraft (R-Carteret).
A petition has been started for the impeachment effort, which gained over 5,800 signatures since it was launched on July 3. Members of the group led by Smith and co-founder Audrey Whitlock delivered a copy of the petition with 5,500 signatures to House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Kings Mountain) on July 8.
“I think the governor has been arbitrary in the way that decisions have been made and the way closure has been done,” Moore told Smith and Whitlock. Moore went on to say that COVID-19 is a serious disease and that he has asked Cooper to come up with a series of standards that applies to businesses and venues.
“It doesn’t make sense to treat, for example, a little bar, the same as you would an Applebee’s,” said Moore. He also said the legislature has shown their frustration with Cooper through their votes, and lawmakers just want the governor to “come up with a plan that makes sense” and to share the data behind it.
“We’re just a few months from an election, and in November the voters get to decide,” Moore said.
The women pressed Moore on whether or not he supported Cooper’s actions that ReOpenNC believes are in violation of the Constitution. Moore responded that he supported some of the items on the “front end,” such as efforts to flatten the curve, but that “now it is like the goalpost is moving.”
Moore mentioned the frustrations with the governor at a Council of State meeting earlier in the week where more discussions needed to happen regarding some of his specific orders, but Cooper cut the meeting short.
Smith followed up and said that ReOpenNC does not believe they will see a constitutional election this fall since they have “not seen constitutional leadership from Cooper so far.” Moore didn’t directly answer on impeachment but said that voters can look in November to see how lawmakers have voted on safely reopening businesses.
“In your position of leadership, do you believe he has done something unconstitutional?” asked Whitlock. “Or are you guys not seeing that from your perspective?”
“Constitutional versus unconstitutional — I don’t know if I agree with it, or if I would draw a distinction either way on that. But I do think the benefit of us living in a representative democracy and a great republic is that in November of this year, the voters get to decide,” Moore said. He added that he hoped the energy out there right now would “translate to votes” in November.
The legislature attempted several veto overrides later that day, one of which was a bill to rein in Cooper’s emergency authority powers, but a two-thirds majority was not obtained as Democrats voted to maintain Cooper’s vetoes.