White House spokesman tweets while Ferguson erupts: ‘A good time was had by all’

August 13

This post has been updated and corrected.

It's 11 p.m. ET, hours after law enforcement officers appeared on the streets of Ferguson, Mo., in armored vehicles, hours after two reporters (including the Post's Wesley Lowery) were arrested, and shortly after another night of unrest and tear gas unfolded on the streets of the St. Louis suburb.

At 10:17 p.m., deputy White House press secretary Eric Schultz offered word from the administration, currently camped out on Martha's Vineyard where the president is vacationing.

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 11.03.30 PM

Yes, citizens of Ferguson, you may sleep easier tonight knowing that the much-trumpeted party for Vernon Jordan's wife Ann, the party at which Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were supposed to hug, ended amicably. The White House pool report added more detail.

The menu consisted of surf and turf and pasta. The Obamas danced nearly every song. A good time was had by all.

Well, good. Here was the scene in Ferguson, captured from a livestream of the night.

mizzou

In the live feed, one woman in Ferguson could be heard clearly. "Where are the politicians at?" she asked. "They want our vote, they want the black vote, but they won't come out here."

It wasn't only the White House that missed the chance to respond appropriately to the unrest. Missouri's Gov. Jay Nixon (D) was quiet, save this tweet.

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 11.07.28 PM

That was at 7:37 p.m., as you can see, well after Huffington Post's Ryan Reilly -- who was arrested with Lowery -- tweeted this:

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Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt's most recent tweet (as of writing) is a tribute to Robin Williams. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) did better, saying that she was "working the phones" to de-escalate the "unacceptable" situation in Ferguson. And, further:

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 11.10.46 PM

Neither the White House itself nor the @barackobama Twitter account, controlled by the nonprofit Organizing For Action, had any additional insight to offer. At 10:37, the White House called a lid on the day, meaning no more updates for the press.


Update, 11:48 p.m.: Shortly after this article was published, Gov. Nixon tweeted again.

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 11.47.35 PM

And, a few minutes later, Blunt.

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 11.53.02 PM


Update, 1:06 a.m.:  The White House said early Thursday that President Obama had been briefed on the clashes Wednesday evening in Ferguson and said the president will be notified as needed by staff. It also said Obama was scheduled to be briefed on the latest developments in Ferguson on Thursday morning.

Correction: An update to this article incorrectly stated that the tweet from Schultz had been deleted. It has not been.

Philip Bump writes about politics for The Fix. He is based in New York City.
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Team Fix · August 13