During the Al Smith dinner on Thursday evening, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton once again declined to shake hands, opting to completely ignore one another.
The Al Smith dinner is a charity event which presidential candidates traditionally attend in order to deliver a lighthearted monologue about the campaign season in the style of the White House Correspondents’ dinner. The tone is generally rather jovial, with the nominees treating one another with respect after a contentious election cycle.
Trump and Clinton are scheduled to speak in about an hour, but so far, that respect isn’t coming across. At the beginning of the dinner, Trump and Clinton were both introduced and made their way to their seats. Despite sitting one chair apart, the Republican and Democratic candidates completely ignored each other, declining to shake hands or even acknowledge that the other person was in the room.
Hillary Clinton did, however, shake Melania Trump’s hand. According to Politico reporter Kenneth Vogel, Trump and Clinton did shake hands when greeting one another backstage.
This comes after two presidential debates in a row in which the presidential candidates declined to shake hands, as is traditionally done during every political event of this kind. Although Trump and Clinton shook hands at the conclusion of the second debate, they never did so during the third debate.
Later, during the actual dinner portion of the event, Trump and Clinton did appear to exchange some brief words.