Alabama lawmakers moved Tuesday to impeach their governor nearly two weeks after his squeaky clean reputation was wrecked by allegations that he and a top aide had an adulterous affair.
“We’re looking at this governor who has essentially betrayed the trust of the people of Alabama,” State Rep. Ed Henry said. “This is about the actions and lies that have caused us some doubts about his leadership.”
Henry then called on Gov. Robert Bentley to resign.
“If he truly loves the people of this state, he will step down,” Henry said.
Not a chance, Bentley fired back in a statement.
“There are no grounds for impeachment, and I will vigorously defend myself and my administration from this political attack,” he said. “Today’s press conference is nothing more than political grandstanding intended to grab headlines and take the focus away from the important issues the Legislature still has to address before the end of the session.”
The bid to remove Bentley came a day after the governor, a conservative Republican, apologized again for the scandal engulfing his administration — and after the governor said he asked God to forgive him.
“I am thankful our governor has reconciled with Our Lord and Jesus Christ,” Henry said. “But his actions still have consequences.”
Henry, who is also a Republican, said the lawmakers are accusing Bentley of obstruction of justice by telling Alabama’s former top cop to not cooperate with an attorney general’s office problem. He said they have never before tried to impeach a sitting governor.
“I could care less about his personal conduct,” state Rep. Craig Ford, a Democrat, said. “This is not about Democrats and Republicans; this is about nothing that the governor has said is true.”
There was no immediate comment from Bentley’s alleged lover, Rebekah Caldwell Mason, who has already resigned from her post as political adviser.
Bentley, a 73-year-old sometime Sunday School teacher, and Mason, a married mom, have denied having a physical affair. But steamy excerpts from a purported telephone conversation between them have cast doubts on those claims.
Bentley and Mason were outed by the former head of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency who said he was fired because he refused to cover up the alleged affair.
Bentley is a father of four and grandfather of six. His ex-wife, Dianne Bentley, filed for divorce in August 2015 declaring that their marriage “has suffered an irretrievable breakdown,” according to court records.