Just 24 hours after facing-off in what can only be described as a heated presidential debate, Republican candidate Donald Trump and Democratic rival Hillary Clinton found themselves in what was surely yet another uncomfortable situation.
Trump and Clinton both attended the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner on Thursday night at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City, an annual Catholic fundraiser at which attendance is a tradition for rivaling presidential candidates.
The joint appearance came just one night after the two candidates refused to shake hands at their debate, with Trump openly referring to Clinton as “such a nasty woman.”
Adding to that awkwardness was the fact that, less than 24 hours later, the two were separated by just one seat at the charity dinner — a chair occupied by Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who ended up acting as a peacemaker or referee of sorts.
Dolan admitted the dynamic between Clinton and Trump was “awkward,” but said there were moments during which the two appeared willing to look past their electoral angst, the Associated Press reported.
One of those moments reportedly unfolded backstage when Dolan asked the two candidates to pray with him.
After the invocation, the cardinal told NBC’s “Today” that Trump turned to Clinton and said, “You know, you are one tough and talented woman,’ and he said this has been a good experience and this whole campaign, as tough as it’s been.
And Clinton reported responded, “Donald, whatever happens, we need to work together afterwards.”
That said, the public addresses from each candidate were a bit more cutting, with Trump receiving boos from the crowd for waging attacks on Clinton. Add that to the fact that Trump and Clinton broke ranks with past attendees by failing to share any positive remarks about one another.
Still, Dolan said he was encouraged to see Trump and Clinton making obvious attempts to be courteous and say nice things to one another behind the scenes. And Dolan wasn’t blind to the oddness of the situation, proclaiming, “You can tell the two of them are kind of awkward together.”
Perhaps the most uncomfortable moment during Trump’s speech was his claim that Clinton was at the event “pretending not to hate Catholics” — a particularly touchy subject considering that top Clinton aides have been under fire over hacked WikiLeaks emails showing some negative claims being made about conservative Catholics and evangelicals.
There were some other iffy moments as well.
“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 did, and she just found out about it through the wonder of WikiLeaks,” Trump said at one point during his address. “We’ve learned so much from WikiLeaks. For example, Hillary believes that it is vital to deceive the people by having one public policy and a totally different policy in private.”
That, of course, attracted some boos.
For her part, Clinton — who made her remarks as Trump’s wife, Melania, sat nearby — said, “Donald looks at the Statue of Liberty and sees a 4 — maybe a 5 if she loses the torch and tablet and changes her hair.”
In the end, rivals will be rivals, but at least the two were able to compliment one another behind closed doors.
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