On the same day that President Biden spoke at an event honoring and celebrating the Americans with Disabilities Act, there was no handicapped seating available at a White House press conference. Here’s the whole story.
Honoring the Disabilities Act
The Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush in 1990.
The ADA “prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities” when it relates to “employment, transportation, public accommodations,” and other areas.
President Joe Biden declared October 2023 as “National Disability Employment Awareness Month,” according to a statement released by the White House.
President Biden spoke at an event honoring the Americans with Disabilities Act on the South Lawn of the White House.
Making a Difference
In a post on X, the White House said the event was held “in the exact same spot” President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act into law.
Biden spoke about what his administration has done to protect the rights of Americans with disabilities.
He said the ADA is a “source of opportunity, meaningful inclusion, participation, respect, and…dignity” for people living with disabilities.
One person posted on the social media platform X, saying, “The ADA has made a significant difference in the lives of millions of Americans with disabilities.”
Empowering People with Disabilities
This person also said the ADA helped “create a more inclusive and accessible society” while “empowering people with disabilities to live full and productive lives.”
On the same day that Biden celebrated the Americans with Disabilities Act, journalists at a press conference questioned White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on why there was no seating for disabled journalists.
The reporter spoke up during the press conference and said, “Karine, about disability, there’s no seat in this room for disabled journalists.”
“No Seat in This Room for Disabled Journalists”
Jean-Pierre ignored the journalist’s comment and moved on to another question.
Despite being ignored, the reporter repeated his statement, saying, “This room has no seat for a handicapped journalist.”
After the second comment from the reporter, the press conference ended, and Jean-Pierre left the podium.
Not Addressing the Problem
While the press secretary was walking away, another reporter said, “Thank you for asking that,” but the comment was still not addressed.
One person commented on social media, saying, “It would be very disappointing if that didn’t get fixed today.”
White House Press Secretary Jean-Pierre received backlash from critics on social media for not addressing the reason there was no handicapped seating at the press conference.
Say Sorry and Fix It
One person said it was “very poor judgment on her part.”
Another person said that if Jean-Pierre had “just acknowledged the oversight, admitted the mistake, and promised to fix it for future briefings,” it would have been the “end of the discussion.”
Instead, she ignored the question and “moved on like everything they do is without error.”
Someone else commented, saying, “Instead of owning up to a mistake, [Jean-Pierre] blew it off, which gives off the vibe of being arrogant and out of touch.”
“The Most Dishonest Press Secretary”
Some even went as far as to call for Jean-Pierre’s removal, saying, “She is the most dishonest press secretary that has ever been in the White House.”
In a post on X, Biden said, “When we passed…the Americans with Disabilities Act, we committed to building an America for all Americans.”
Some people supported the president’s efforts and commented, telling him “thank you” for his “great work.”
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Gints Ivuskans