Clinton ignores Trump, delivers speech on helping disabled

Story highlights

  • Clinton said people with disabilities are "invisible, overlooked and undervalued"
  • Clinton added that as president, she would do away with the subminimum wage

Orlando, Florida (CNN)Hillary Clinton's aides wanted their candidate to start talking more about policy and less about Trump. On Wednesday, Clinton did just that.

The Democratic presidential nominee forcefully argued in favor of giving people with disabilities an equal chance at success during an event here, saying defending the disabled would be "a vital aspect of my presidency."
The speech offered implicit contrast with Trump -- who last year memorably mocked New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski, whose arthrogryposis impairs the movements in his arms. But Clinton entirely ignored the Republican nominee during the event, never using his name in the roughly 30-minute speech.
    Wednesday's speech was Clinton's fourth in a series of addresses where the former first lady is attempting to talk more about her values and proposals and less about Trump.
    Clinton's past "Stronger Together" speeches on faith, community service and children and families have been far more focused on Trump. Wednesday's address, instead, lived up to what Clinton's aides had hoped the series of speeches would be: More policy than politics.
    Clinton said people with disabilities are "invisible, overlooked and undervalued" and that the United States is "falling short" in protecting their rights.
    "We've got to face that and do better -- for everyone's sake," Clinton said. "Because this really does go to the heart of who we are as Americans."
    Clinton added that as president, she would do away with the subminimum wage, urge Congress to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and launch a program to help with autism in the workplace.
    "People with disabilities shouldn't be isolated. They should be given the chance to work with everyone else. And we're going to eliminate the subminimum wage, which is a vestige from an ugly, ignorant past," Clinton said of laws that allow employers to pay people with disabilities less than the minimum wage. Some advocates for the disabled, however, have feared that the elimination of the subminimum wage would diminish hiring of disabled workers.
    Jennifer Mizrahi, the president of Respect Ability, an advocacy organization for people with disabilities, said the speech was the first time a presidential candidate has dedicated an entire campaign event to the disabled.
    People with disabilities are usually the "poorest of the poor," Mizrahi said, noting that around 400,000 disabled people work in "sheltered work shops where they can pay subminimum wages, as little as 20 cents an hour."
    The activist also suggested the Clinton's struggles would be helped by focusing on people with disabilities.
    "We span every demographic," she said. "A lot of white people with disabilities."
    Clinton is beating Trump with Latino and African-American voters, but lagging behind the Republicans with white voters, especially those without a college degree.