Donald Trump’s reception at an annual charity dinner where both presidential candidates traditionally appear cooled considerably when his speech pivoted from self-deprecating jokes to barbs about Hillary Clinton, who sat in the audience.
As his pointed jabs at his Democratic opponent escalated, the audience reaction at Thursday’s Alfred E. Smith Catholic charity event turned from laughter to boos.
Trump kicked off his set joking about his notorious self-promotion, telling the crowd that modesty was his “best quality” besides his “temperament.” A crack about his wife Melania plagiarizing parts of Michelle Obama’s 2008 Democratic National Convention speech at this year’s Republican convention was also well-received.
“The media is even more biased this year than ever before, ever,” he joked. “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.”
Things got hairier once he turned his eye on Clinton, borrowing lines about her corruption and use of a private email server that wouldn’t be out of place at one of his spirited campaign rallies.
“Hillary is so corrupt she got kicked off the Watergate Commission,” Trump said. “How corrupt do you have to be to get kicked off the Watergate Commission?”
The man on the right’s expression summed up the audience reaction at the shift in tone.
“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. We’ve learned so much from WikiLeaks—for example, Hillary believes that it’s vital to deceive the people by having one public policy and a totally different policy in private,” he said, to loud boos from the audience.
“That’s okay, I don’t know who they’re angry at, Hillary, you or I,” Trump went on. “For example, here she is in public pretending not to hate Catholics.”
Trump also went after the Clinton Foundation’s work in Haiti and the former secretary of state’s long record in D.C.
Watch video of his full speech below via NBC’s Bradd Jaffy:
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) October 21, 2016