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Sheriff’s anti-Trump letter-burning spurs critics, supporters

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Sheriff Jones burns "anti-Trump" letters

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Social media users are fired up over Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones burning thousands of letters he received from people asking him to not vote for Donald Trump as an elector in Ohio’s Electoral College.

WATCH: Jones burns anti-Trump letters

Jones, an early and avid supporter of the president-elect, was one of 18 who voted Monday in Columbus when the state's Electoral College convened, and all electors voted for Trump.

However, leading up to that vote Jones said he received thousands of letters from across the country asking him to not vote for Trump.

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He said he read many of the letters he received, and called them “disrespectful.”

“I gave them the same amount of respect,” he said. “This is what they deserve. They deserve to be in my fire pit.”

One online critic questioned if Jones actually burned public records. It doesn't appear those letters were public records as they were sent to Jones in his capacity as an Electoral College elector and not the county sheriff.

“(Electors in the Electoral College) do serve in a public office, but aren’t mentioned specifically in the open records law that I can see,” said Xavier University political science professor Mack Mariani.

Before burning the letters, Jones said he checked to make sure they were not considered part of the public record.

RELATED: About the electors of the Electoral College

As Monday’s vote approached, more and more letters came to Jones’ home in Hamilton. He said the mail carrier had to back his mail truck into his driveway to deliver hundreds of letters at a time. Some were “disguised” as Christmas cards, he said, some were sent certified mail, and others were sent as an overnight delivery.

“In the beginning I read a few of them,” Jones said. “But I’d be reading them for 10 years if I read them all.”

Butler County Democratic Party Executive Chairwoman Jocelyn Bucaro called the letter burning “childish.”

“Sheriff Jones should be bringing this country together instead of staging childish publicity stunts,” she said. “It’s sad we expect more maturity and sportsmanship from Little Leaguers than an elected sheriff who represents more than just Trump supporters in this county. Why isn’t his own party telling him this? He’s an embarrassment.”

Jones said he respectfully disagrees with Bucaro’s assessment.

“She’s probably one of the best people in the position she has right now that I’ve seen in years,” he said. “She helps Republican candidates get elected.”

Butler County GOP Executive Chairman Todd Hall “proudly” supports Jones and his actions.

“Democracy is having the right of speech,” he said. “Hypocrisy is believing it applies only to you. If those who wrote the letters of protest really believed in democracy they wouldn’t have a problem with the sheriff’s response.”

People on social media have expressed mixed opinions on whether the action was fitting of an elected official like the sheriff.

Kelsey Moon posted on the Journal-News Facebook page that it was "disrespectful."

"It's fine if he chooses not to agree with them, but its another thing when he goes so far to make such a useless statement," she posted. "People should feel comfortable voicing their beliefs to people in higher positions, even if they don't side with them they should be heard."

J David Biddle posted, "He's allowed to have his horrible opinion, but this is ridiculous."

Several others supported the sheriff's actions, with some posting lengthy defenses. Others, like Sondra Wesselman, simply posted, "Good for Sheriff Jones."