As she spoke, Blair's service dog, Scout, took a nap at the president's feet in a moment that quickly went viral on social media
President Joe Biden was joined by actress Selma Blair in a touching moment on Monday, when the two spoke at the White House in honor of the 33rd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the 50th anniversary of the Rehabilitation Act.
Biden, 80, fought for the passage of both bills during his time as a U.S. senator because, as Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Monday, "he believed then, just as he believes now, that the federal government owes dignity and respect to every American, especially those with disabilities."
Speaking on the South Lawn, Blair — who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in Aug. 2018 — called herself “a proud disabled woman" as she lauded measures that protect those with disabilities, saying: “The push towards equity continues. Our laws and policies must reflect that our disabled lives are not of lesser value.”
As she spoke, Blair's service dog, Scout, took a rest at the president's feet, in a moment that quickly went viral on social media.
The Cruel Intentions star, 51, has been open about the challenges that come with the chronic immune disease since announcing her diagnosis, explaining how she has at times had difficulty speaking and lost the ability to fully use her left leg.
Blair also appeared in a documentary about the experience — Introducing, Selma Blair — which premiered in 2021.
Also on hand at the event were other Americans with disabilities and their families, as well as members of Congress, and advocates.
In his own remarks on Tuesday, Biden noted that the landmark Americans With Disabilities Act was a "bipartisan bill, signed into law by a Republican president, George H.W. Bush, 33 years ago on this spot on the South Lawn of the White House."
The bill, passed in 1990, prohibits discrimination based on disability and requires employers and public facilities to provide reasonable accommodations to those with disabilities.
"It marked progress that wasn’t political but personal for millions of disabled American veterans and families," Biden added. "Folks, for more than 61 million Americans living with disability, these laws are a source of opportunity, meaningful inclusion, participation, respect, and, as my dad would say, the most important of all, dignity. Being treated with dignity."
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