The annual Al Smith dinner in NYC, a fundraiser for Catholic charities, usually sees both candidates take the stage in a presidential election year to take some shots across each other's respective bows a few weeks before Election Day, all in good fun. Of course this year one of those candidates is Donald Trump, and things went, well, exactly as you would expect them to have gone considering Trump's history.
Donald Trump said Thursday he was in a room full of wonderful people at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner in New York.
“Or as Hillary calls it, her largest crowd of her season,” he said with a chuckle, as Democratic rival Hillary Clinton laughed, too. “This is corny stuff.”
But as his remarks progressed, Trump’s speech turned more biting.
“Here she is tonight, pretending not to hate Catholics,” he said. Several in the crowd booed.
Trump went on: “Everyone knows of course Hillary’s belief that it takes a village, as in Haiti where she’s taken a number of them.” That was met with more jeering from the crowd. Clinton’s smile was still on her face, but she didn’t laugh.
Both candidates were, for the most part, good-natured yet tough on each other, but Trump apparently misread this particular audience gathered in his heavily Democratic hometown. Still, despite the booing spells, Trump got strong laughter from throughout the room at his best jokes. The loudest roar of approval came at the expense of his wife.
“The media is even more biased against me than ever before," Trump said. "You want the proof? Michelle Obama gives a speech and everyone loves it. It’s fantastic. They think she’s absolutely great. My wife Melania gives the exact same speech! And people get on her case! And I don’t get it! I don’t know why!”
At another point, Trump made light of his assertion that Clinton's use of a private e-mail server while secretary of state constitutes a punishable crime.
"We've proven that we can actually be civil to each other," Trump said. "In fact just before taking the dais Hillary accidentally bumped into me and she very civilly said 'Pardon me.'"
Yeah, the guy got the biggest laughs when he went after his wife and the woman he's running against. I think I'm noticing a pattern here. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton may not have Barack Obama's natural comedic delivery gifts, but she does have 25 years of DC fighting experience in arenas such as these. She got some shots in too at the Waldorf Astoria ballroom last night.
Clinton, who spoke second, began with the self-deprecatory remarks and gracious gestures that have been the hallmarks of previous dinners.
She got big laughs when she told the audience: “I just want to put you all in a basket of adorables.”
She told Trump that if he didn’t like what she was saying, “Feel free to stand up and shout ‘wrong!’ while I’m talking.” That was a reference to Trump’s habit of interrupting her comments during the three presidential debates.
Clinton also shifted to more biting tone as her speech progressed, and added that after Trump’s speech that she’ll “enjoy listening to Mike Pence deny that you ever gave it.”
Trump, with his arms folded, laughed.
Still, Joy Reid summed it up best this morning:
Trump was in a room with precisely the kind of people he has spent his life yearning to be accepted and respected by, and they booed him.— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) October 21, 2016
For Trump it was being made to look like a national laughing stock all over again like Obama did to him five years ago at that now infamous 2011 White House correspondents dinner. If you thought his meltdown was bad before...
...stay tuned. I think the final two weeks and change of this campaign are going to be amazing.