Donald Trump turned what was supposed to be a lighthearted, introspective roast into a vitriolic stump speech, and got booed because of it.
Only 24 hours after their final presidential debate on Wednesday, Trump was within arms’ length of Hillary Clinton at the annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner in New York City.
As part of the proceedings, both candidates delivered a set of pre-written jokes. And though the Republican nominee’s roast of Hillary Clinton began a little clunky at worst, he lost the audience when he called her corrupt.
“Hillary is so corrupt,” Trump set up, prompting boos, “she got kicked off the Watergate Commission.”
“We’ve learned so much from WikiLeaks,” he said later. “For example, Hillary believes that it’s vital to deceive the people by having one public policy and a totally different policy in private.”
In response to the booing, Trump veered off script: “I don’t know who they’re angry at, Hillary, you or I.” Several people in the audience answered him: “You.”
Clinton took the mic next.
“This is such a special event that I took a break from my rigorous nap schedule to be here,” she began. “And, as you’ve already heard, it’s a treat for all of you too because usually I charge a lot for speeches like this.”
Trump started off so well, too. His best joke of the night hit his wife’s alleged plagiarized speech during the Republican National Convention in July.
“I really have to say, the media is even more biased this year than ever before. Ever. 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.”
When not on stage, Clinton and Trump were separated only by Archbishop of New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan.
“I was very moved by their interaction together around me,” Cardinal Dolan, who sat directly between the two presidential candidates, told Fox News afterwards. “They were very friendly, very uplifting, very complimentary to one another.”
On the “Today” Show on Friday, Dolan called his seat at the dinner the “iciest place on earth.”
Dolan also said that the candidates’ conversation was filled “touching moments.”
At one point, according to Doland, Trump leaned in and told Clinton that she’s “one tough woman.” Clinton responded, “Whatever happens, we need to work together afterward.”