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Election

When Hillary and Donald Broke Bread Together: Best and Worst Zingers from the Al Smith Dinner

Updated

It’s going to take a lot of praying to repent for these jokes.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump traded some brutal barbs at the annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Dinner in New York City Thursday night. Some landed, some fell flat and some (Trump’s) bombed so hard they drew boos.

The traditionally lighthearted fundraising dinner for Catholic Charities quickly took a turn for the 2016 when Trump accused Clinton of “hating Catholics.” The jab was met with jeers and boos, which continued as Trump called the former secretary of state “so corrupt she got kicked off the Watergate commission.”

Just how bad was it? One Washington Post writer later said Trump’s speech “might as well have been a campaign eulogy.”

Here’s a look at all the best and worst lines of the night from both candidates.

First, host Alfred Smith IV broke the ice by introducing Trump.

  • Addressing former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani: “Mr. Mayor, don’t worry, we aimed the lights just right so you’ll be in Donald Trump’s shadow all night. (Giuliani laughed.)
  • “Donald and Pope Francis have so much in common. For instance, they lead lives of humility.”
  • “Gov. Christie was supposed to be here but he got stuck in bridge traffic.”
  • Smith said the evening’s order of speakers was determined backstage with a coin toss but they knew, “No matter how the coin toss ended, our next speaker was going to say it was rigged.”
  • “It is historic that the Donald is here tonight. That’s right, for the first time the Catholic Church is not the largest tax-exempt land owner here tonight.”
  • “Donald, the microphone is yours … and it’s working.”

Enter Trump.

  • “We have proven that we can actually be civil toward each other. In fact, before taking the dais, Hillary accidentally bumped into me, and she very civilly said, ‘Pardon me.’ And I very politely replied, ‘Let me talk to you about that after I get into office.’ “
  • “You know the president told me to stop whining, but I really have to say the media is more biased this year than ever before. 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.”
  • “The truth is I’m actually a modest person. Very modest. In fact, people tell me that modesty is actually my best quality — even better than my temperament.”
  • “I wasn’t really sure if Hillary was going to be here tonight, because I guess you didn’t send her invitation by email — or maybe you just did, and she just found out about it through the wonder of WikiLeaks.”
  • “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?”
  • “We’ve learned so much from WikiLeaks. For instance, Hillary believes that it’s vital to deceive the people by having one public policy and a totally different policy in private. … For example, here she is tonight, in public, pretending not to hate Catholics.”

Cue Clinton.

  • “I took a break from my rigorous nap schedule to be here. And as all of you heard, it’s a treat for all of you, because usually I charge a lot for speeches like this.”
  • “Your eminence, you do deserve great credit for bringing together two people who’ve been at each other’s throats — mortal enemies, bitter foes. I’ve got to ask: How did you get the governor and mayor here together tonight?” she said in a sly reference to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s feud.
  • To Trump: “After listening to your speech, I will also enjoy listening to Mike Pence deny that you ever gave it.”
  • “Now, I’ve got to say, there are a lot of friendly faces in this room — people I’ve been privileged to know and work with. I just want to put you all in a basket of adorables.”
  • “And you look so good in your tuxes — or as I call them, formal pantsuits.”
  • “People look at the Statue of Liberty and they see a proud symbol of our history as a nation of immigrants. A beacon of hope for people around the world. Donald sees the Statue of Liberty and sees a 4. Maybe a 5 if she loses the torch and tablet and changes her hair.”
  •  “I understand that I’m not known for my sense of humor. That’s why it did take a village to write these jokes. People say I’m boring compared to Donald. But I’m not boring at all. In fact, I’m the life of every party I attend — and I’ve been to three.”
  • “Many people don’t know this, but Rudy (Giuliani) actually got his start as a prosecutor going after wealthy New Yorkers who avoided paying taxes. But as the saying goes, if you can’t beat ’em, go on Fox News and call ’em a genius.”

The pointed jabs didn’t end at the dinner for Clinton. The Democratic candidate took to Twitter the following day to mock Trump for declaring that he “won” Wednesday’s debate, based on results that are “almost unanimous.”

“Where was this kind of comedy last night?” she deadpanned.

Their humor that evening also seemed to inspire Cardinal Timothy Dolan to crack a joke of his own, calling his seat between Clinton and Trump at the dinner “the iciest place on the planet.”

“Where’s global warming when you need it?” he quipped.