Cardinal Dolan says Trump, Clinton were actually 'very friendly' at Al Smith Dinner

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton at Al Smith Dinner
(Image credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The Al Smith Dinner, a white-tie charity event hosted by the archbishop of New York, is a big deal every four years, when, traditionally, both major-party presidential candidates show up to mock themselves and roast their opponent. This year is different, because Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton both call New York home and also because the tenor of the campaign is unusually nasty, and Trump's speech drew jeers and boos when he stepped over the line in jabbing at Clinton. Clinton landed some pretty good verbal punches, too. After the event, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who sat between the two at the dinner, called his seat "the iciest place on the planet."

But maybe that was just in the jocular spirit of the event, named after the first Catholic ever nominated for president. After all, after roasting each other, Clinton and Trump did shake hands — unlike at their debate just 24 hours earlier.

"I was very moved by their interaction together around me, they were very friendly, very uplifting, very complimentary to one another," Dolan told Fox News after the dinner. "I thought the evening accomplished its goals." Reporter Bryan Llenas asked if the cardinal didn't think some of the jokes went too far, and he shrugged. "Ah, who knows? Humor. To each his own, it's a matter of taste…. The fact that we're together, the fact that they shake hands at the end and say, 'see you on the campaign trail,' that's not bad."

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Dolan, sadly, did not explain what was going on here. Peter Weber

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Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.