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Clinton, Trump trade barbs at Al Smith dinner

October 21, 2016

Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump traded barbs at the Al Smith dinner, which raised over $6 million for Catholic charities in New York.

“I’d like to address an important religious matter: the issue of going to confession,” said Trump. “Or, as Hillary calls it, the Fourth of July weekend with FBI Director Comey. Now, I’m told Hillary went to confession before tonight’s event, but the priest was having a hard time, when he asked about her sins, and she said she couldn’t remember 39 times.”

“Here she is tonight, in public, pretending not to hate Catholics,” he added, as he spoke of “the need to stand up to anti-Catholic bias, to defend religious liberty and to create a culture that celebrates life.”

For her part, Clinton said:

It’s a special honor to be here with Your Eminence [Cardinal Dolan]. Now I know, Your Eminence, you were criticized for inviting both Donald and me here tonight, and you responded by saying “If I only sat down with those who were saints, I’d be taking all my meals alone.” Now, just to be clear, I think the Cardinal is saying I’m not eligible for sainthood. But getting through these three debates with Donald has to count as a miracle.

After referring to the anti-Catholic prejudice that Al Smith endured in his campaign, she said:

I believe how we treat others is the highest expression of faith and of service. I’m not Catholic. I’m a Methodist, but one of the things that we share is the belief that in order to achieve salvation we need both faith and good works. And you certainly don’t need to be Catholic to be inspired by the humility and heart of the Holy Father, Pope Francis. Or to embrace his message. His message about rejecting a mindset of hostility, his calls to reduce inequality, his warnings about climate change, his appeal that we build bridges, not walls.

Now as you may know, my running mate, Tim, is Catholic and went to Jesuit schools, and one of the things he and I have talked about is this idea from the Jesuits of the Magis, the more, the better. But we need to get better at finding ways to disagree on matters of policy while agreeing on questions of decency and civility. How we talk to each other, treat each other, respect each other.


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Show 4 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: hartwood01 - Oct. 24, 2016 10:27 PM ET USA

    What an embarrassing pall Trump cast over the room when his attack on Clinton veered from good natured roasting to embarrassing her .We may not support her views on abortion but we can be hospitable. Did not envy Cardinal Dolan.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 22, 2016 2:55 PM ET USA

    If she truly practiced her Methodism, there wouldn't be a problem!! The United States has had presidents of varying religious backgrounds in its history. If Bernie Sanders, who is Jewish, had been the nominee of the Democratic party, we would hope that he would get along with people of other faiths.

  • Posted by: brenda22890 - Oct. 22, 2016 1:58 PM ET USA

    This is odd reporting given that it makes Clinton sound so charitable and Trump so surly. The speeches I heard were nasty on both fronts. Regardless of nice sounding speeches, Clinton has said repeatedly that she supports abortion up to 9 months. No true Catholic can ever vote for that, however rude her opponent may sometimes be.

  • Posted by: unum - Oct. 21, 2016 7:00 PM ET USA

    Nice words from Hillary, but it is difficult to know whether she really means them. On the other hand, Donald's remarks clearly demonstrate why he will never be POTUS. Too bad, because this country really needs a leader who is a fighter and has business skills! - From a lifelong conservative Republican!