The Alfred E. Smith Memorial Dinner is a staple in New York. A tradition that goes back to 1945. Each year, some of New York’s wealthiest gather together and raise literally millions for the underprivileged children in the New York Catholic Diocese. It is an event that in most ‘Presidential’ years features the candidates as the keynote speakers. There have been a few exceptions, like when Bill Clinton didn’t attend in 1996. This year, the candidates did attend. Both of them spoke to the crowd just 24 hours after their final debate of the campaign.
The Al Smith dinner is commonly the last event that the candidates appear at together. It is also usually treated as somewhat of a roast. But it is one where most of the jokes tend to go against oneself. One of the most famous lines was delivered by George W Bush when he commented that he was here with the ‘haves and the have-mores, or as he calls them — his base.’
Donald Trump began with a couple of ‘kind of’ self-deprecating jokes, his speech went low fast. Too low for the crowd. Trump went into a string of anti-Hillary jokes that seemed more mean-spirited than funny — even in the ‘roast’ tradition. Within a few minutes of his schtick, the crowd went from nervous laughter to openly booing Trump. The switch occurred and the crowd had enough when one of his ‘jokes’ began with ‘Hillary is so corrupt …’ You can see the reaction of the people behind him including Maria Bartiromo from Fox Business Network. The shock and horror on their faces tell the story maybe even more than the boos.
Before we go any further, check out the video below …
In addition to the insults in the clip above. Trump continued on about Hillary being a criminal. Beyond that, many of them seemed to be based on debunked conspiracy theories as if they were not debunked. The routine was booed hard. At one point, Trump commented that he didn’t know if they were booing at him or her — some shouted back that it was him. At the end of his stand-up, Trump did make some sincere and nice comments about the efforts of the Al Smith Foundation.
Clinton, for her part, gave a pretty good speech, especially for her. She managed to poke fun at herself way more than Trump was willing and most of her jabs at him were to the lighter side vs mean spirited. Check out some of her routine below …
Overall, the dinner was a huge success with it bringing in a record six million dollars that will go to Catholic Charities that help struggling children.
Featured image from screen capture of the video above.