Anastasia Somoza, an advocate for Americans with disabilities, took to the stage during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia (video below).
On July 25, Somoza was among the DNC speakers during the first day of the convention.
Confined to a wheelchair, the advocate spoke glowingly of presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s support for her advocacy while scolding the Republican nominee, Donald Trump, for having mocked a physically disabled journalist, reports CNN.
Somoza, who has cerebral palsy and spastic quadriplegia, has advocated for Americans with disabilities since the 1990s. During her speech, she attributed her ability to be heard to the Clintons.
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“Over the past 23 years, she has continued to serve as a friend and mentor, championing my inclusion and access to classrooms, higher education and the workforce,” Somoza said.
As a child, Somoza gained former President Bill Clinton’s attention during a town hall meeting in 1993. She interned with Hillary Clinton while she served as a senator.
“She has never lost touch with people like me,” Somoza continued. “She has invested in me. She believes in me. And in a country where 56 million Americans with disabilities so often feel invisible, Hillary Clinton sees me.”
Somoza had less glowing words for Trump, who she blasted for mocking a disabled reporter.
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In November 2015, Trump gesticulated his arms wildly while referencing Serge Kovaleski, a reporter for The New York Times who had been critical of him. The reporter had a disability that had impacted his arms, ABC News reports.
Trump denied mocking Kovaleski specifically for his disability, firing back “I would never mock a person that has difficulty. I would never do that. I’m telling you, I would never do that.”
Somoza appeared unconvinced on the DNC stage, slamming Trump as unfit for the Oval Office.
“I fear the day we elect a president who defines being an American in the narrowest possible of terms, who shouts, bullies and profits off of the vulnerable Americans,” Somoza said.
“Donald Trump has shown us who really is,” Somoza added. “I honestly feel bad for anyone with that much hate in their heart ... Donald Trump doesn’t see me, he doesn’t hear me, and he definitely doesn’t speak for me.”
Somoza was not the only speaker to knock Trump for his alleged insensitivity to those with disabilities. Actress Eva Longoria, during her introduction of Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, blasted Trump for mocking Kovaleski, The Huffington Post reports.
“When Trump cruelly mocked a disabled reporter, he was also mocking my special-needs sister and many like her,” Longoria said.