Trump's Al Smith Dinner Speech Gets Too Political, Draws Boos

Posted: Oct 20, 2016 9:55 PM

We knew it was going to be awkward. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were tasked with sitting just one seat apart from each other at the Al Smith dinner in New York City just 24 hours after their third and final presidential debate. The annual event was created to benefit Catholic charities.

The dinner started great. The chairman of the event, Alfred E. Smith IV, had a contagious sense of humor and noted that this year's dinner broke a fundraising record. It was smiles all around. When he handed the microphone off to Donald Trump, the GOP nominee started off with some seriously funny jabs. He threw some harmless jokes Clinton's way, noting this must be the biggest crowd she's drawn all year. Trump's home run moment, though, was when he snuck in a jab at his wife Melania for her RNC speech, parts of which turned out to be copied from an old Michelle Obama speech. That joke, he said, was bound to get him in trouble when he gets home. 

But, the laughter and applause turned to boos when his speech got a bit too political for the religious crowd. He called Clinton "crooked," brought up her email scandal and suggested that she was pretending to like Catholics by being there tonight. It all seemed a little too controversial for what was supposed to be a lighthearted evening.

Social media users noted that was an unfortunate first for the Al Smith dinner.

When Clinton went up to the podium, she said she was surprised Trump agreed to a "peaceful transition," poking fun at his continual argument the election is "rigged." She also included her own bit of self-deprecating humor, noting she took a break from her napping schedule to be there.

Despite the obvious tension, at one point Trump and Clinton did manage to shake hands - a feat for which the host noted Cardinal Dolan should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

The crowd's loudest applause seemed to come when the speakers noted the election will be over very soon.