It took Trump three weeks to call James Shaw Jr., the hero who disarmed a shooter in a Nashville restaurant. And he still hasn't offered any public praise for Shaw's bravery.
On Monday afternoon, deputy press secretary Raj Shah opened the White House daily briefing by quickly noting that Trump called Shaw that morning to “commend” him. The 15-second mention contained no direct quotes from the call.
Later in the briefing, American Urban Radio Networks White House correspondent April Ryan pressed Shah for details.
“We all need more information about the conversation the president had by phone with James Shaw, Jr.,” Ryan said. “Why wasn’t it here at the White House?”
Shah stammered a response, but Ryan continued to press him about the lack of a White House invitation.
“Honestly, I don’t know if he was invited,” Shah finally said. “I just honestly don’t have more for you on that.”
Ryan had also questioned press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders two weeks ago about Trump’s snub of Shaw, and pointed out that Trump praised other heroes. Sanders promised a phone call and an invitation to the White House.
But today, Shah had no information about a White House visit, and very little to say about the phone call. And even now, three weeks after the tragedy, Trump still has yet to publicly praise Shaw.
The Waffle House shooting doesn’t fit the NRA’s “good guy with a gun” narrative. And James Shaw Jr.’s heroism doesn’t fit the racist worldview of Trump or his base.
By keeping his words of praise for Shaw private, Trump conveniently and disgracefully avoids offending his right-wing supporters.