New York: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump exchanged jokes sprinkled with acid remarks at a New York charity dinner held one day after the last presidential debate before the US elections on November 8.
The two candidates managed to sit two seats from each from each other and remain – mostly – civil on Thursday night at the white-tie Al Smith Dinner, the traditional break from attacks during every US presidential campaign cycle, NBC News reported.
Trump and Clinton did not appear to acknowledge each other as they arrived to take their seats flanking Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, at the upscale Waldorf-Astoria hotel.
But the two nominees both smiled broadly and laughed at each other’s needles, and they did shake hands after the event.
The Manhattan billionaire started by noting that he knew he was supposed to begin with a “self-deprecating joke”.
“Some people think that might be tough for me,” he said to laughter. “The truth is I’m actually a modest person. In fact, people tell me modesty might be my best quality – even better than my temperament.”
Trump then riffed on themes he brings up often on the campaign trail, such as mocking the size of Clinton’s rallies and media bias, NBC News noted.
Eventually, boos began emerging as Trump dropped the jokes almost entirely.
“Here she is in public, pretending not to hate Catholics,” Trump said, referencing an apparent email exposed by WikiLeaks in which a Clinton spokeswoman seemed to joke about Catholics and evangelicals.
Trump also brought up a moment from Wednesday night’s debate.
“Last night, I called Hillary a ‘nasty woman’. This stuff is all relative. After listening to Hillary rattle on and on, I don’t think so badly of Rosie O’Donnell (TV personality) anymore. In fact, I’m actually starting like Rosie a lot,” Trump said.
Clinton stuck to the traditional script as she took the dais second.
“I took a break from my rigorous nap schedule to be here,” she told the audience. “Usually, I charge a lot for speeches like this.”
Turning to Trump, the former Secretary of State said, “Donald, if at any time you don’t like what I say, feel free to stand up and shout ‘Wrong!’ after I say it.”
And diving into Trump’s remark that he would not accept the result of the upcoming election if he lost, she said: “I’m surprised I’m up here at all. I didn’t think he’d be OK with a peaceful transition of power.”
The Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner — held the third Thursday of every October — is a tradition in American presidential politics and marks the last time the two nominees share a stage, CNN reported.
Named for the former New York governor and first Catholic to receive a major party nomination when Democrats tapped him to oppose Herbert Hoover in 1928, the Manhattan event has an attendance of more than 1,500 donors who give more than $3,000 each to Catholic charities for tickets.