A presidential visit to Ferguson, Missouri, is not off the table, The Hill reported on Tuesday.
A senior administration official didn't rule out a trip to the St. Louis suburb, now in its second week of protests over the fatal shooting of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown, but the White House currently has no plans for President Barack Obama to visit the troubled community.
The president didn't say whether he would visit Ferguson when asked by a reporter on Monday, stressing only that ongoing investigations precluded him from going into the details on the matter.
"Short term, obviously, right now what we have to do is to make sure that the cause of justice and fair administration of the law is being brought to bear in Ferguson," he said during a press conference at the White House. "In order to do that, we’ve got to make sure that we are able to distinguish between peaceful protesters who may have some legitimate grievances and maybe longstanding grievances, and those who are using this tragic death as an excuse to engage in criminal behavior -- and tossing Molotov cocktails, or looting stores."
Two Missouri Democrats on Tuesday panned the idea, citing security concerns that a presidential visit would involve amid regular clashes that led Gov. Jay Nixon (D) to call in the National Guard.
"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," Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) said on MSNBC. "What we need is a sense of calm and anything other than that is going to be dangerous."
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) echoed Cleaver, and added that it would place an undue burden on police who are already struggling to contain the protests.
"A presidential visit requires a lot of security from local officials," she said. "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."
Obama announced Monday that he was sending Attorney General Eric Holder to Ferguson to meet with federal law enforcement authorities who are conducting an investigation into the death of Brown.
08/26/2014 7:49 AM EDT
The Toll On Michael Brown's Family
USA Today's Yamiche Alcindor provides an intimate look at how Michael Brown's parents have been dealing with the loss of their son:
Phones constantly ring with reporters asking for interviews or family members offering support. Last week, as demands reached a tipping point, both parents moved into hotels to shield themselves.
In the days leading up to the funeral, Brown's mother continued to cry and spoke in whispers as she tried to explain her feelings.
"They say tomorrow is going to be the hardest day, but I think today was — just seeing my baby laying there, cold," Lesley McSpadden, 34, told USA TODAY. "It did something to my heart. It's too much. It's too much."
08/26/2014 7:44 AM EDT
New Audio Allegedly Captures Moment Michael Brown Was Shot
New audio has surfaced that allegedly captures the moment when Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was shot dead by Darren Wilson, a white police officer, on Aug. 9.
CNN aired the unverified recording on Monday night. Six shots can be heard, followed by a pause, then several more. A private autopsy performed on Aug. 17 at the request of Brown's family found that the 18-year-old was shot 6 times, including twice in the head.
08/25/2014 12:58 PM EDT
Al Sharpton: America, It's Time To Deal With Policing
08/25/2014 12:53 PM EDT
Al Sharpton: All Of Us Are Required To Respond
Rev. Al Sharpton: All of us are required to respond to this #MikeBrownfuneral— HuffPost BlackVoices (@blackvoices) August 25, 2014
08/25/2014 12:48 PM EDT
Benjamin Crump: We Will Not Accept Three-Fifths Justice For Michael Brown
08/25/2014 12:28 PM EDT
Funeral Program Includes Tribute From Michael Brown's Parents
USA Today reporter, Yamiche Alcindor shares photo of program which includes tributes to Michael Brown from his mother and father
08/25/2014 12:22 PM EDT
Michael Brown's Stepmother: He Prophesied His Own Death
Stepmother of #MichaelBrown said the late teen "pretty much prophesied his own death and didn't realize it."— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) August 25, 2014