Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will make light of the presidential race at the Al Smith Dinner this evening.
The dinner, which is taking place at the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan, starts at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time, but Trump and Clinton are expected to speak closer to 9:00. The dinner can be watched via the embedded YouTube stream from The New York Times. It will also be broadcast live on C-SPAN, and C-SPAN will be streaming it via their website as well so long as you have a cable subscription.
The Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner is a white tie fundraiser during which presidential candidates deliver comedic speeches that are similar in tone to those given at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Candidates traditionally rib the other candidate and make fun of themselves a bit as well. In 2012, following three heated debates, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama took a friendly tone during the dinner despite all that had been said in the preceding weeks.
“In our country, you can oppose someone in politics and make a confident case against their policies without any ill-will,” Romney said in his speech. “And that’s how it is for me. There is more to life than politics.”
Yet during one of the ugliest presidential campaigns of modern times, and following two debates during which the candidates refused to shake hands, it’s difficult to picture Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton making similar statements this year, leading to much greater interest in this event than there traditionally is.
The Al Smith Dinner raises funds for Catholic charities, and it is hosted by the Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan.