Watch: Trump and Clinton sit one seat apart at gala, square of at roast


The annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation
Dinner, a white-tie gala in New York that is often
the last time the two presidential nominees share a
stage before Election Day,
is traditionally a time
when campaign hostilities are set aside.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton traded sharp
barbs and brutal take-downs the night after their
final debate, with many in the well-heeled crowd
turning on the Republican nominee midway
through his remarks and showering him with jeers.
Trump, who had drawn big laughs earlier in the
speech, appeared to lose the room as he
repeatedly dug in with caustic swipes at Clinton,
drawing rare boos at a charity event meant to raise
money for impoverished children throughout New
He appeared to straddle the line when he talked
about how “listening to Hillary rattle on and rattle
on” has made him better appreciate his former
nemesis Rosie O’Donnell. But he then seemed to
cross it when he referred to her as “corrupt” during
a lengthy riff on the FBI’s investigation into her use
of a private email server as secretary of state.

“Hillary is so corrupt she got kicked off the
Watergate Commission. How corrupt do you have
to be to get kicked off the Watergate Commission?
Pretty corrupt,” he said to loud boos and at least
one call demanding he get off the stage.
He then almost appeared to segue into the
standard attack lines of his rally speeches, setting
aside jokes to bring up material contained in
hacked Clinton campaign emails.
“Hillary believes that it’s vital to deceive the people
by having one public policy and a totally different
policy in private,” he said to growing jeers. “Here
she is tonight, in public, pretending not to hate
Clinton also veered into personal digs, making one
joke in which she said the Statue of Liberty, for
most Americans, represents a symbol of hope for
“Donald looks at the Statue of Liberty and sees a
‘4,’” Clinton joked. “Maybe a ‘5’ if she loses the
torch and tablet and changes her hair.”

Trump and Clinton sat one seat apart for the
evening, with New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan
acting as the only buffer. And when they entered
and took their seats, they did not greet each other
or make eye contact, though they did shake hands
at the conclusion of the roast.
Dolan later called his seat “the iciest place on the
Most eyes were on Trump, who infamously
glowered through Obama’s jokes at his expense
during the 2011 White House Correspondents
Dinner and is not known for being self-
Some of his jokes landed well, drawing laughs
from both the crowd and Clinton.
His biggest laughs came as he talked about
Michelle Obama getting rave reviews for a recent
speech. “They think she’s absolutely great. My
wife Melania gives the exact same speech, and
people get on her case,” he said to whoops and
And some of his attack lines flashed a sense of
humor that has been mostly absent from the
grueling campaign. Clinton was the first one to
laugh when Trump joked that she had bumped into
him earlier in the night “and she very simply said
‘Pardon me'” – an unsubtle reference to the
Republican nominee’s frequent declarations that
his opponent should go to jail.
Clinton, meanwhile, was more self-deprecating
than Trump, joking that she’s taken a break from
her “usual nap schedule” to attend and suggesting
that the audience should be pleased she’s not
charging her usual fee for speaking in front of
potential donors.
But she also got in some digs at Trump, a few of
which drew scattered jeers. Clinton said she
understood why Trump was leery of teleprompters
because they can be difficult to follow and “I’m
sure it’s even harder when you’re translating from
the original Russian.”
The dinner is named after the former New York
governor, who was the first Catholic to receive a
major party nomination for president when he
unsuccessfully ran in 1928. And fittingly for an
event named after a man nicknamed “The Happy
Warrior,” the occasion has produced dozens of
memorable presidential jokes – and sincere
moments of goodwill that have remained largely
absent from the 2016 campaign.
“I can’t wish my opponent luck,” John McCain said
in 2008, turning toward Obama, “but I do wish him


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