President Trump criticized for taking over 3 weeks to thank Waffle House hero James Shaw Jr.

While Ivanka Trump took part in a hugely controversial visit to Israel and Melania Trump recovered from a kidney procedure, President Trump spent part of Monday trying to make things right with a man widely regarded as an American hero.

Three weeks and one day after the fatal shooting that claimed the lives of four patrons at a Nashville-area Waffle House and left several others wounded, Trump made contact with James Shaw Jr., the diner who risked his own life to fight back against suspected shooter Travis Reinking. The 29-year-old father is crediting with grabbing an AR-15 off Reinking, who now faces murder charges.

“This morning, the president had a call with James Shaw Jr. to commend his heroic actions and quick thinking last month at a Waffle House in Tennessee,” deputy press secretary Raj Shah confirmed during a White House briefing, according to CNN. “Mr. Shaw saved lives when he wrestled a gun from an active shooter who had open fired.”

Shah added that he was uncertain as to whether or not Shaw had been invited to the White House to be thanked in person.


The call was made after sharp criticism of Trump’s delay in acknowledging Shaw’s heroism in the incident April 22. In addition to disarming the shooter and preventing further loss of life, the Tennessee native has devoted his newfound hero status to raising funds for families of those killed and wounded in the shooting. He has appeared on Ellen, met with student survivors of the Parkland shooting, and been honored by lawmakers in his home state.


Though Vice President Mike Pence hailed Shaw as an “American hero” last month and press secretary Sarah Sanders has floated the idea of inviting him to the White House, Trump’s reticence was seen as a grave omission. Some speculated that the slight was racially motivated, as Shaw is black.


USA Today reports that U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) was among those who lashed out at Trump for waiting to connect with Shaw. 

“Shaw is one of our nation’s cultural heroes, and the fact it took the president this long to acknowledge him speaks volumes,” Cohen said in a statement. “While the president may not have demonstrated his own quick thinking in this regard, it is better late than never that he has done so.”


Cohen’s not alone. News of Trump’s call was met with skepticism from many critics.





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