Two Missouri Democrats on Tuesday said it would be a bad idea for President Obama to visit Ferguson, Mo.
They said the last thing authorities in the St. Louis suburb need right now is to deal with the security surrounding a presidential visit, something they also said would also place unrealistic expectations on Obama.
“It adds another distortion. We don't need that now. And we don't need any more people coming into Ferguson to help the poor people out during this time of trouble,” Cleaver said. “What we need is a sense of calm and anything other than that is going to be dangerous.”
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) went further calling a presidential visit a “bad idea” because of the increased burden it would put on police.
“A presidential visit requires a lot of security from local officials,” she said on the same show. “Right now our local officials have their hands full. It is a very bad time for a presidential visit for the practical reasons — many of these people are not getting enough sleep. We are really taxing all of the jurisdictions on the police forces.”
Attorney General Eric Holder will visit the St. Louis suburb on Wednesday. Ferguson has been roiled by protests and clashes after a white police officer shot and killed an unarmed black teenager 10 days ago.
Holder is leading a federal investigation and has ordered an autopsy of 18-year-old Michael Brown.
At least 31 people were arrested in Ferguson on Monday night. Some came from as far away as California and New York, according to media reports.
Obama is heading back to Martha's Vineyard, Mass., on Tuesday and has no plans to visit the city.
Cleaver was the mayor of Kansas City during the Rodney King riots in 1991. He said there is no book written on what to do or what to say. But he said urging Obama to visit the city would create unrealistic expectations.
“I think we put enormous pressure on anyone if we create the atmosphere that, if this person comes to town, everything is going to be OK,” he said.
Obama on Monday again plead for calm in Ferguson, noting that the majority of people are peacefully protesting.
“While I understand the passions and the anger that arise over the death of Michael Brown, giving into that anger by looting or carrying guns, and even attacking the police, only serves to raise tensions and stir chaos. It undermines, rather than advancing justice,” Obama said Monday.