ORLANDO, Fla. — Hillary Clinton, seeking to broaden her base of support in her campaign for the White House, said Wednesday she would work to make the American economy more “inclusive,” especially for Americans with disabilities.
The Democrat continued her tour of key swing states — she appeared in Pennsylvania two days earlier — in the week leading up to her first debate against Republican Donald Trump Monday at Hofstra University.
This week, Clinton also has sought to build support with millennial voters by focusing on reducing college debt faced by students and recent graduates.
She also briefly addressed the recent shootings of African-Americans by police in Oklahoma and North Carolina, calling the cases “unbearable, and praised police for their work on recent attacks attributed to terrorists in New York, New Jersey and Minnesota.
Clinton didn’t mention Trump specifically, but said her campaign would unite Americans, rather than divide them.
That stood in strong contrast to her remarks Monday. She criticized Trump then as “someone who has a history of racial discrimination in his businesses, retweets white supremacists and who led the ‘birther’ movement,” a reference to the falsehood that President Barack Obama wasn’t born in the United States.
Instead, Clinton focused Wednesday on building support among disabled Americans — also in contrast to Trump, who once mocked a disabled journalist.
“In this country, we all belong. We all have value,” Clinton told an audience at a community outreach center. She said her administration would provide more Americans with disabilities with chances to get an education and join the workforce.
“One advocate after another has told me the same thing: ‘We don’t want pity. We want paychecks. We want the chance to contribute,’ ” Clinton said. “As president, I’m going to give them that chance.”
Clinton said she would build on initiatives such as Autism Works and The Americans With Disabilities Act to get more people into the workforce and push to make universities and colleges more accessible.
“This issue is very close to my heart,” Clinton said. “I’ve always believed that the ultimate test of society is how we treat our fellow humans, especially those most vulnerable among us. And on this front, I intend for my presidency to move our country forward.”
It was the first time a presidential candidate made a “major campaign speech” on the needs of those with disabilities, according to RespectAbility, a nonprofit advocacy group.
Clinton opened her speech by addressing the recent police-involved shootings of African-Americans in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Charlotte, North Carolina.
“We know that we have two more names to add to a long list of African-Americans killed by police officers. It’s unbearable,” Clinton said. “And it needs to be intolerable.”
Clinton also praised the “extraordinary courage, honor and skill” law enforcement officials displayed in investigating recent bombings in New York and New Jersey linked to suspected terrorist Ahmad Rahami.
Clinton said she didn’t have “all the answers,” but said society functions better when the public respects the police and police respect the public.
Unlike Monday, she didn’t blast Trump specifically. Instead, she invoked her rival by saying: “We don’t thrive on tearing each other apart or separating ourselves.”