Cardinal Dolan: Clinton, Trump were courteous off stage at Al Smith Dinner

By Eric DuVall  |  Oct. 21, 2016 at 1:39 PM
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NEW YORK, Oct. 21 (UPI) -- Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York who had the unenviable task of sitting between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump at Thursday's Al Smith Dinner, said the candidates made a genuine effort off stage to be courteous to one another.

Dolan told the Today show he was "very moved" by the candidates' effort to make the Catholic charity fundraiser successful -- and tolerable, despite their obvious differences.

"I was very moved by the obvious attempt on behalf of both Secretary Clinton and Mr. Trump to kind of be courteous, to get along, to say nice things privately to one another," Dolan said. "I was very moved by that. That was pleasant."

Dolan said he led Clinton and Trump in a private prayer before the event began. Afterward, Trump told Clinton she is "tough" and "talented." Clinton said in return the two of them should work together to improve the country once the election is over.

"Now I thought: This is the evening at its best," Dolan said.

On camera, though, the two presidential nominees were anything but friendly to one another. Trump joked about considering giving Clinton a pardon if he's elected president, a reference to his promise to have a special prosecutor investigate her email use during the second presidential debate.

"And even tonight with all of the heated back and forth between my opponent and me at the debate last night, we have proven that we can actually be civil to each other," Trump said at the event. "In fact, just before taking the dais, Hillary accidentally bumped into me and she very civilly said, 'Pardon me.'

"And I very politely replied, 'Let me talk to you about it after I get into office'," he said. "Just kidding, just kidding."

For her part, Clinton took Trump to task for his proposal to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States.

"And if Donald does win, it will be awkward at the annual Presidents' Day photo, when all the former presidents gather at the White House," she said. "And not just with Bill. How is Barack going to get past the Muslim ban?"

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