By Justin Sink
The White House is hopeful about the calmer mood in Ferguson, Mo., since Attorney General Eric Holder's "worthwhile" trip to the site of protests over the police killing of an unarmed black teen, a spokesman said Friday.
"It's fair to say that we've been encouraged by what we've seen in the past few days," spokesman Eric Schultz told reporters traveling with the president on Martha's Vineyard.
National Guard soldiers on the ground in Ferguson began withdrawing on Friday, after two nights of relative calm in the town that had been gripped by sometimes-violent demonstrations in the aftermath of the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.
Earlier this week, President Obama dispatched Holder to the town to meet with community leaders and Department of Justice (DOJ) officials conducting a review of possible civil rights violations tied to the case.
The president and Holder had "been in touch" about developments on the ground, Schultz said, although he offered little on what insights Holder had shared.
"I can tell you that the president felt that the attorney general had a very good and worthwhile trip to Ferguson," the spokesman said. "He met with members of the community, the congressional delegation, local officials, along with FBI agents and DOJ personnel conducting the federal criminal investigation, and he received an update on their progress. He also met with the parents of Michael Brown."
Schultz sidestepped questions about whether Obama himself would consider visiting the St. Louis suburb now that tensions had seemed to dissipate, but indicated such a trip remained unlikely.
"I don’t have any scheduling announcements at this time," Schultz said. "I do think you’ve seen the president speak about this, again, so very openly and candidly over the past few days."