COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Gov. Mike DeWine’s message to his detractors in the Ohio Statehouse was a fairly simple one: “Have at it.”

During a Tuesday briefing on the state’s fight against COVID-19, DeWine was asked about a movement in the Ohio House of Representatives to have him impeached for the state’s response to the coronavirus.

“My focus as governor is going to continue to be and my priorities are to keep people safe and to get our economy moving faster,” he said. “Getting people to work, growing our economy, and saving lives, so that’s where my focus is.”

With a bit of a grin, DeWine added that if there are people in the legislature who want to spend their time drawing up resolutions and filing articles, “it’s a free country.”

“I’d just say to them, ‘Have at it,’” the governor said. “My focus is to do what I’m sworn to do and that is to protect the people of the State of Ohio, to get this economy moving faster, to save lives.”

This week, several Ohio House Republicans started an effort to impeach DeWine because of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Later in the briefing, DeWine defended his approach to handling the coronavirus and criticism from some in his own Republican Party that it didn’t fall in line with conservative thinking.

“I think conservatives are, historically, to preserve life, to preserve liberty,” he said. “The things that we’ve done and the things we’ve talked about doing … it’s about preserving life.”

DeWine added that he believes his administration’s approach to containing the virus is in the tradition of conservativism and of freedom in the United States.

Rep. John Becker leads the impeachment effort and Reps. Paul Zeltwanger and Nino Vitale support him, according to a website set up in favor of the effort.

As of Monday, the articles of impeachment have yet to be filed and to actually remove DeWine from office, they will need support from the majority of the House of Representatives and two thirds of the State Senate