Nearly a month after James Shaw Jr. saved lives by disarming a deranged gunman at a Waffle House near Nashville, President Donald Trump on Monday finally called to praise Shaw for his heroic actions.
“This morning he had a call with James Shaw to commend his heroic actions, and quick thinking at a Waffle House in Tennessee,” White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah announced on Monday. ” … Mr. Shaw saved lives when he wrestled a gun from an active shooter who had opened fire.”
Shaw, 29 has been hailed a hero after confronting gunman Travis Reinking, who opened fire on unsuspecting customers at an Antioch Waffle House on April 22. Four people were killed in the attack. Police eventually caught up with and arrested Reinking, who fled the gruesome scene wearing nothing but a jacket.
Earlier this month, the White House claimed it had reached out to Shaw to invite him to the nation’s capital, which turned out to be false. The Waffle House hero previously told CNN’s Van Jones it wasn’t his place to speculate why Trump hadn’t contacted him sooner, saying, “I know he has a busy agenda, a busy schedule. Maybe he just hasn’t got around to me. Maybe my time is coming.”
Reporters on Monday pressed Shah about why the president, who’s remained mum on the deadly shooting altogether, didn’t meet Shaw face-to-face.
“I don’t know if he was invited,” Shah replied. “I just honestly don’t have more for you on that.“
The president has been met with backlash for his failure to address the incident, in which four people of color were killed. Critics also blasted Trump for taking so long to call Shaw, who is African-American, and thank him publicly for his heroism.
In the weeks since the shooting, Shaw has managed to raise over $200,000 for the families of the victims killed in the senseless attack.