Just a day after their third and final presidential debate, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump again shared a stage Thursday night as guests of honor at the Al Smith Memorial Dinner in New York. The result was decidedly awkward.
The two candidates, engaged in possibly the most contentious presidential election in more than a century, sat almost next to each other on the dais at the Waldorf Astoria ballroom, separated only by New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan seated between them.
Dolan later said he had been sitting in the “iciest place on the planet.”
The Al Smith dinner is an annual fundraiser for Catholic charities, and has historically featured politicians of both parties exchanging good-natured jabs and making self-deprecating jokes.
Trump started with a few mellow barbs, which he dismissed as “corny,” but quickly drew gasps and boos from the crowd as his remarks turned increasingly biting. “Here she is in public pretending not to hate Catholics,” Trump said at one point.
Other jokes landed with a thud: “Hillary is so corrupt, she got kicked off the Watergate Commission,” Trump said.
Here's video of Trump getting booed down during his set at the Al Smith Dinner pic.twitter.com/025zgItcfy
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) October 21, 2016
Clinton, who had been laughing along earlier, turned stone-faced, and the rest of Trump’s material drew few laughs or applause from the stunned crowd of 1,500.
Clinton followed with her own speech, which similarly started soft and got edgier: “After listening to your speech, I will also look forward to listening to Mike Pence deny that you ever said it,” Clinton cracked.
She continued: “I’ve had to listen to Donald for three full debates. And he says I don’t have any stamina. That is 4½ hours. I have now stood next to Donald Trump longer than any of his campaign managers.”
While some of Clinton’s jokes drew more chuckles than others, none of her remarks drew boos. Among the other zingers from the candidates:
— Trump: “Some people think this would be tough for me but the truth is I’m actually a very modest person, very modest. It’s true. In fact many people tell me that perhaps modesty is my best quality.”
— Clinton: “It’s amazing I’m up here after Donald. . . . I didn’t think he’d be OK with a peaceful transition of power.”
— Trump: “This is the first time Hillary is sitting down and speaking to major corporate leaders and not getting paid for it.”
— Clinton: “I took a break from my rigorous nap schedule to be here. . . . Usually I charge a lot for speeches like this.”
— Trump: “I called Hillary a nasty woman, and after listening to her go on and on and on, I don’t dislike Rosie O’Donnell so much any more.”
— Clinton: “Donald really is as healthy as a horse. You know, the one Vladimir Putin rides around.”
Observers on Twitter were eager to chime in:
I thought the Al Smith dinner was supposed to be funny. I am more uncomfortable right now than during any debate so far. #notsofunny
— Adam Joseph (@6abcadamjoseph) October 21, 2016
Trump was booed off the stage at the Al Smith Dinner. Now I've seen it all.
— John Dingell (@JohnDingell) October 21, 2016
— Carole Radziwill (@CaroleRadziwill) October 21, 2016
While neither candidate gave indications of a second career in comedy, the dinner did end on a somewhat more conciliatory tone, as Clinton and Trump shook hands, which they had pointedly refused to do at either of the last two debates.
This article was originally published on Marketwatch.