Rep. Cleaver: 'I Don't Think the President Needs to Come to Ferguson'

By Susan Jones | August 19, 2014 | 9:19 AM EDT

Police in riot gear mobilize during a standoff with protesters Monday, Aug. 18, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo.  (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

( - "I don't think the president needs to come to Ferguson," Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Tuesday.

"It adds another distortion... We don't need any more people coming into Ferguson to help the poor people out during this time of trouble. What we need is a sense of calm, and anything other than that is going to be dangerous."

President Obama announced on Monday that he is sending Attorney General Eric Holder to Ferguson on Wednesday. Holder will be joined by members of Missouri's congressional delegation, including Cleaver.

Obama, asked if he would consider going, said he has to be "very careful about not prejudging these events before investigations are completed." He said he wants to make sure it doesn't look like "I'm putting my thumb on the scales one way or the other."

Cleaver told MSNBC that he served as mayor of St. Louis during the violence that followed Rodney King's beating by police in California. "Anything that you do successfully is probably by error. I mean, you  just lucked up and did it.

"There is no book written on what you do or what you say. 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."

But Cleaver also said he expects the impact of "hoodlums" to be diminished in Ferguson when the Justice Department takes center stage in the investigation. In the meantime, the current turmoil is "interfering with what needs to be done," he said.