President Donald Trump has called the man hailed as a hero for prying a gun out of the hands of the Waffle House shooter in Nashville.
White House spokesman Raj Shah said Trump called James Shaw Jr. on Monday morning "to commend his heroic actions and quick thinking last month."
Shaw, 29, who was a customer at the South Nashville restaurant, is credited with saving numerous lives after he wrestled an AR-15 out of the hands of Travis Reinking, whom police say opened fire about 3:25 a.m. on April 22.
Four people were killed and numerous others were wounded in the attack at the Nashville Waffle House.
Shaw said he ran toward the bathroom when the gunfire rang out. Then, realizing he was trapped, Shaw rushed the shooter as he was reloading, grabbed the hot barrel of the AR-15, disarmed the shooter and threw the gun over the Waffle House counter.
Trump had faced criticism in some quarters for not acknowledging Shaw’s actions. But Vice President Mike Pence called him “an American hero” in a Twitter posting last month.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said earlier this month that a trip to the White House may be in the works for Shaw.
Later Monday, Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis, chided Trump for waiting for three weeks to call Shaw and thank him for her heroics.
“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.”
In an appearance Sunday on MSNBC, Cohen said he suspected the reason Trump hadn’t made the call is that Shaw, who is African-American, is “not of the race that Mr. Trump appeals to.”
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