CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - An outspoken Republican Ohio sheriff is calling for a bipartisan team of former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush to go on a national tour in an attempt to unite the country and its political leaders for an end the partial government shutdown.
“The people need to hear from you. America needs your help,” wrote Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones in a letter Tuesday to Obama that he also sent to Bush.
Here is his letter in its entirety:
“Recent news reports and events occurring around the country are widely creating civil unrest among the American citizens," he wrote. "The extreme divide between our Democrats and Republican parties needs to be rectified.
"It is my strong opinion that the first step in addressing these issues is for you and former President George W. Bush to come together and form a group that travels in the media circuit to show that we can unify and communicate civilly.
“The country needs the two of you to show the American people that our political parties can get along even if opinions differ. We are a great nation with a history of great leaders. The people need to hear from you. America needs your help.”
In an interview with FOX19 NOW, Jones said he has never seen such a vitriolic mood in our country, especially in Washington D.C.
The country needs to come together, and it needs to happen now, he warns.
“If we don’t, someone is going to die,” Jones said. “Everything has gotten so hostile. You can’t just disagree with someone anymore. Everything gets so nasty. Someone is going to die.
“We need to get to get the government open and these two past presidents are well-respected in their parties and it may take something like these two individuals to get the Congress and Senate back to talking and at least maybe it will lead to something.
“I am not asking them to do anything we don’t really need. We need to get these two individuals out of retirement and get their butts out there and help our country.”
This is not the first time Jones, a 42-year law enforcement veteran and staunch supporter of President Donald Trump, has drawn headlines for unorthodox moves.
He was the first Midwest sheriff to raise the issue of illegal immigration more than 16 years ago.
Last year, he said he had become so frustrated federal authorities have not restored his power to target and detain illegal immigrants that he is skeptical he will ever get it back.
He also made national headlines by offering free concealed handgun training classes to teachers and other school staff members after school shootings in Florida and Texas. The response was overwhelming.
Jones said his proposal is not an indication his support has wavered for Trump or Trump’s long-promised border wall between the U.S. and Mexico that has led to the shutdown impasse.
"We need that wall today. We needed it yesterday. I’ve called out my own party my whole career. It’s about the people, it’s not about the party or the people. We elected these people to go to work in the Congress and the Senate and we need them to start talking.
Trump, he went on, is the “best president of my lifetime. I support him 100 percent. (But) it’s a swamp. Everybody doesn’t want their cheese taken away. They all want to keep their cheese and he’s taking their cheese away. It upsets the establishment. Our politicians are all fighting over their cheese and we can’t get it to move again and the President can only do so much. We’ve got a logjam and we need these two presidents to come back and get the logs moving again. Everything is at a standstill right now."
So much, in fact, that Jones said he s not sure Obama and Bush will get his message anytime soon beyond media reports.
“It’s very hard to get a hold of them. Their libraries are closed down because of the government shutdown,” he said.
“I may have to deliver these letters myself. It’s almost like we can’t get help because everything is closed now."