White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders stated in a press conference on Tuesday that efforts are being made to contact Waffle House hero James Shaw Jr. for a meeting at the White House. To date, President Donald Trump has yet to speak or tweet a word about Shaw’s lifesaving actions when a gunman opened fire at a Waffle House near Nashville, TN, on April 22. Many have accused Trump of racism because of his silence on this matter and his actions in other matters involving people who are a different race than him.
Twenty-nine-year-old Shaw has been proclaimed a hero far and wide for his actions at a Waffle House last month. About 3:25 in the morning of Sunday, April 22, suspect Travis Reinking (also 29 years old) entered a Waffle House in Antioch, TN, wearing nothing but a jacket. He shot at two people who were outside the restaurant before going inside where he continued shooting. James Shaw Jr. took cover until there was a brief break in the shooting. Shaw took the opportunity to rush the shooter, take away his AR-15, and throw the weapon over the Waffle House counter. The shooter ran and has since been arrested. The Antioch Patch quoted the hero as saying,
“When he came in, I distinctively remember thinking that he is going to have to work for this kill. I had a chance to stop and thankfully I stopped him.”
— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) May 2, 2018
Shaw was treated for some cuts on an elbow. At a press conference soon after the incident, he spoke of not seeing himself as a hero but rather that his motivation was self-preservation.
Politico reports that the shooter killed four people. Three died at the scene, and one died later at the hospital. Police say that without a doubt James Shaw Jr. saved many lives at that Waffle House, and that many more would have died if not for his actions.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked in Tuesday’s press conference whether President Trump had been in contact with the Waffle House hero and whether he would be invited to the White House. Sanders responded, “My understanding is that there has been an outreach effort to bring him here to the White House, and I’ll keep you updated on that as I have more information.”
Vice President Mike Pence tweeted his thanks to Shaw, calling him “an American HERO!”
Many attribute Trump’s silence on Shaw’s actions to the fact that he is African American, and the victims were all people of color. He has been attacked several times in the past for being slow to comment, or completely failing to comment, on the murder of minorities.