Missouri Governor Jay Nixon adamantly denies that the White House pressured him to resist sending in the National Guard in response to violent protesters unhappy with the Michael Brown shooting decision.
It is clear, however, that Nixon has been in close contact with President Obama’s senior advisor Valerie Jarrett as the chaotic situation unfolded. According to the White House, Jarrett spoke with Nixon the first night of the protests as well as the morning after.
Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz confirmed that Jarrett received “updates” from Nixon, “promising to stay in close touch” as the situation continued.
“Valerie spoke to Governor Nixon both last night and this morning, and has been briefing the President on an ongoing basis since last night,” Schultz said, speaking to reporters on Air Force One. “And in each of those conversations with Governor Nixon, Valerie has pledged to stay in close coordination with the Governor in making sure that he’s getting the support he needs from the federal government.”
Schultz refused to say whether or not President Obama spoke on the phone with anyone about the protests sweeping the nation, but revealed that White House staff spoke with mayors across the country to coordinate a proper response.
Jarrett and Attorney General Eric Holder also spoke with civil rights leaders the first night of the protests, continuing their close coordination as the grand jury decision approached.
“As you know, we’ve been working closely with them for the past few months leading up to this point to make sure that responses to this moment would be appropriate and constructive,” Schultz said.