Traditionally, the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner, held each year as a fundraiser for Catholic charities, is an opportunity for the major-party candidates to diffuse the tension of the more formal presidential debates by delivering good-natured comedic speeches. Traditionally. But, as even aliens from another galaxy surely would have realized by now, this is not a traditional election. All of which to say is that, if his plan to plop himself down on the sidewalk and throw a temper tantrum should he lose the election on November 8 doesn’t work, Donald Trump has to start examining his career options. And he should probably cross “stand-up comedian” from the list.
You see, Trump’s crippling inability to compose himself for more than 15 minutes came back to bite him once again last night at the Al Smith Dinner: His speech, which began as comedic, gradually fell apart, transforming into a spiteful airing of embittered grievances—as NPR puts it, “it was hard at times to tell if he was joking”—that drew boos from the well-heeled crowd. (His remark, “here she is tonight, in public, pretending not to hate Catholics,” was particularly poorly received.)
Think about that for a second. A bunch of rich old conservative Catholics, the kind of people who pay thousands of dollars to attend black-tie galas so they can make nice with archbishops, booed the Republican nominee for President of the United States. NBC senior news editor Bradd Jaffy caught it on tape:
On the upside, though, America has a new hero to step into the Ken Bone-shaped void in our hearts—until we find out who he is, anyway. Sure, he’s the living embodiment of the system we all hate so much, but at least he probably has no idea what Reddit is. Introducing James P. MacGilvray, Executive Vice President, UBS Financial Services, Inc. and member of the Board of Directors of the Alfred P. Smith Memorial Foundation:
Clinton, for her part, seemed to be in good spirits, and was among the first to laugh at Trump’s comments about her. She also couldn’t help getting in a few personal jabs at her opponent, saying, “Donald looks at the Statue of Liberty and sees a four, maybe a five if she loses the torch and tablet and changes her hair.” And, with Cardinal Timothy Dolan sitting between them, the candidates engaged in friendly small talk throughout the evening, eventually shaking hands before they left.
In the interest of fairness, you can watch both candidates’ full speeches, courtesy of the lamestream media operatives at C-SPAN, below.