Friday, 21 October 2016

At Al Smith Dinner, Donald Trump Turns Friendly Roast Into 3-Alarm Fire,Trump lost

Reporters tweeted that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump entered the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner from separate sides of the room, and didn't even shake hands which at this point really isn't a surprise.

But there was hope that Thursday night's event could serve as a comedic salve for the nation following three decidedly nasty presidential debates. The fundraising event for Catholic charities — now in its 71st year traditionally is a time for the candidates to offer jokes about themselves and their opponent.

Such is the scenario that characterized this year’s cycle of general election presidential debates. In their three joint appearances Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump appeared to be playing two separate, incompatible games. For Clinton the debates were an exercise in competitive political communication. This is terrain with which she is familiar, something she has a knack for. For Trump the debates were a form of reality television, in which the objective is to wipe out your opponent by any means necessary: insults, threats, hissy fits, facial contortions, physical intimidation.

Trump spoke first, and it was hard at times to tell if he was joking. Trump complained about all the politicians who loved him, his money and his endorsements before he decided to run for president. "Suddenly, [they] decided when I ran for president as a Republican that I've always been a no-good, rotten, disgusting scoundrel. And they totally forgot about me." And he continued, to silence from the crowd, "but that's OK."

Some of Trump's jokes resonated, such as his crack about Clinton's ongoing email server saga. 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 with each other. In fact, just before taking the dais, Hillary accidentally bumped into me, and she very civilly said, 'Pardon me.

Trump also joked about calling Hillary Clinton a "nasty woman" at their final debate Wednesday in Las Vegas. "But this stuff is all relative," he said. "After listening to Hillary rattle on and on and on, I don't think so badly of Rosie O'Donnell anymore," another famous woman he's previously disparaged.

The Republican nominee even scored laughter at the expense of his wife, Melania, who drew sharp criticism after she plagiarized portions of a Michelle Obama speech in her 2016 address to the Republican National Convention. "Michelle Obama gives a speech and everyone loves it, it's fantastic," Trump said. "They think she's absolutely great. My wife, Melania, gives the exact same speech, and people get on her case!"

But then things went south. Trump called Clinton corrupt several times, and not in a joking kind of way. "Hillary believes that it's vital to deceive the people by having one public policy and a totally different policy in private." That remark drew boos.

It is no coincidence that the town hall handed Clinton her worst debate of the series. Although she did not completely relinquish control, the town hall felt a lot more like a Trump production than a Clinton production. Even when she attempted to physically isolate herself from her co-star, he planted himself in her camera shots. The only thing Trump lacked was a lucha libre mask.

Clinton regained her footing in the third encounter, which returned the players to the familiar contours of the TV debate genre. Trump even attempted to observe the rules — at least for the first 30 minutes — when his opponent reignited her strategy of baiting him into flare-ups. By the time moderator Chris Wallace elicited the now-infamous “I will keep you in suspense” moment, Trump had fully regressed into reality show bluster, willing to say anything as long as it made for good programming. Unfortunately, good programming doesn’t make for good politics. Trump has suffered in the polls since the debates began.

The Clinton line that drew the most laughs might have been her take on Trump's debate performance and the drama he provided before it even started. "Sharing a stage with Donald Trump is like, well, nothing really comes to mind," Clinton said. Donald wanted me drug tested before last night's debate. ... I am so flattered that Donald thought I used some sort of performance enhancer. Now, actually, I did. It's called preparation.

There are lessons here for future presidential candidates, not the least of which is that television debates follow their own rules. Trump attempted to remold the debates to reflect his own personality, while Clinton steeped herself in the conventions of the genre, and used those conventions to put her rival on the ropes. Trump brought ice skates to a tennis match, finding out the hard way that you can’t win a presidential debate if you don’t understand what a presidential debate is.

In emotional new ad, Khizr Khan asks if his fallen son would have a place in Trump's America

The father of Humayun Khan, a Muslim-American soldier killed in Iraq in 2004, thrust himself into the election spotlight this summer at the Democratic National Convention, when he asked if the Republican nominee had even read the U.S. Constitution and told Trump he had "sacrificed nothing and no one."

On Friday, Hillary Clinton’s campaign released an ad starring the Gold Star father. Khan comforts his wife Ghazala while he softly recites his question as footage of his son being laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery plays on a nearby screen.

“I want to ask Mr. Trump, would my son have a place in your America?," Khizr Khan says in the ad titled “Captain Khan” after an image of Trump plays.

Clinton frequently mentions the Khans, who live in Virginia, on the campaign trail. She invoked their names again during the final presidential debate as an example of the list of people Trump has attacked during his campaign.

After the convention speech, Trump lashed out at the family, a move his fellow Republicans strongly criticized. At times, the feud has reignited as the Khans make their media rounds.

The ad is part of Clinton's closing message, one that her top aides hope will be uplifting and hopeful, offering an implicit contrast to the combativeness that the Trump campaign has turned to in recent weeks.

Khan, who was thrust into the national spotlight after he excoriated Trump in a speech at the Democratic National Convention, is seen at his home in the ad, looking at keepsakes from his son, Army Capt. Humayun Khan's, life.
"In 2004, my son was stationed in Iraq. He saw a suicide bomber approaching his camp. My son moved forward to stop the bomber when the bomb exploded. He saved everyone in his unit. Only one American soldier died," Khan says as video shows the father holding the flag that was draped over his son's casket.

Mr. Khan, who does not know me, viciously attacked me from the stage of the DNC and is now all over T.V. doing the same - Nice! Trump tweeted as the couple spoke on CNN’s New Day in August.

What cemented Khan's place in 2016 political history, though, was the way Trump responded to the speech, telling ABC the following Sunday, "If you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say. She probably -
maybe she wasn't allowed to have anything to say. You tell me.
The interview drew instant rebuke from Democrats and Republicans, including GOP leaders who said it was unacceptable for the party's nominee to go after a Gold Star family. But Trump doubled down on the comments and tweeted later that Khan "viciously attacked me from the stage of the DNC and is now all over T.V. doing the same - Nice!
Since then, Khan has done interviews for the Clinton campaign and Clinton regularly references him, including at the third and final presidential debate Wednesday in Las Vegas.
"He went after Mr. And Mrs. Khan, the parents of a young man who died serving our country, a gold star family because of their religion, Clinton said.
"Those other charges, as she knows, are false," Trump later responded.

Charity Dinner Host: Donald Trump ‘Crossed The Line’ With Hillary Clinton Attacks,Turns the Tormentor

If there was any doubt that Donald Trump’s comedy routine at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Dinner did not go over well with the crowd, Alfred E. Smith V put that to rest on Friday morning.

Smith ― the great-great-grandson of the dinner’s namesake, who was the first Catholic presidential nominee from a major party ― specifically told CNN’s “New Day” that Trump’s joke that Hillary Clinton was “pretending not to hate Catholics” did not sit well with the largely Catholic audience.

Donald had some very solid minutes early on and eventually he crossed the line and took it a little too far,” Smith said. “Hillary, on the other hand, was able to laugh at herself and at the same time not underplay any of the serious things that Donald Trump has said or done.

Of course, there was little doubt Thursday night that Trump’s line upset the crowd since it drew loud boos from those gathered. The joke was a reference to the publication of a hacked email that Clinton campaign communications director Jennifer Palmieri, herself a Catholic, had made an controversial comment about Catholics and evangelicals.

Apparently, the joke did even worse than appearances would suggest, however. Smith argued that Trump, who spoke first, managed to diminish Clinton’s performance by taking “the tone in another direction.”

“Hillary when ultimately she got the mic, she had some very funny things that she had said, and I don’t think they got as many laughs as they could have just because the tone in the room had shifted a bit,” Smith suggested.

The room did get a little uncomfortable,” Smith concluded. “Like I said, that line, in a room full of predominantly Catholics, that didn’t go over so well.

Mr. Trump struggled to keep pace. “Excuse me,” he complained. “My turn,” he stomped.

“The one thing you have over me is experience,” Mr. Trump said at one point.

And yet it seemed clear through this last confrontation that there was a gap in knowledge, or at least in command of the material that candidates seeking to be president are expected to master.

“Take a look at the Start-Up they signed,” Mr. Trump said at one point, apparently referring to the Start nuclear arms reduction treaty.

Pressed on immigration, Mrs. Clinton detailed her plan to overhaul the current system, identifying a daughter of undocumented parents who feared they would be deported. Mr. Trump’s response seemed far less certain: After reiterating his plan to build a wall on the Mexican border, he summoned a line straight out of a Hollywood western. “We have some bad hombres here, and we’re going to get them out,” he said.

Asked about a 2008 Supreme Court decision on gun control, District of Columbia v. Heller, Mr. Trump displayed a loose command of the subject, focusing his answer on Mrs. Clinton’s emotions after the ruling. “Hillary was extremely upset, extremely angry,” he said.

As the debate wore on, Mrs. Clinton kept finding opportunities to make Mr. Trump seem smaller and smaller, or at least more puerile.

She noted that after a stretch without an Emmy for his reality TV show, Mr. Trump had claimed that the awards show was rigged against him — just as he now says about the election.

Mr. Trump did not disappoint. “Should have gotten it,” he said bitterly.

And it became clear that the candidate who relishes his role as a bully had little patience for being bullied.

Mrs. Clinton implied that Mr. Trump would find a way to weasel out of paying his fair share of taxes for Social Security.

“My Social Security payroll contribution will go up, as will Donald’s  assuming he can’t figure out how to get out of it,” Mrs. Clinton said, fully aware she was provoking him.

Donald Trump’s Year of Living Dangerously ‘Colossal Mistake’

It is a scene reminiscent of other countries and other times: An angry candidate defies the will of the voters and hurls venom at the democratic process. Threats of jail are issued against political opponents. There is even loose talk of armed insurrection.

With his assault on the legitimacy of the presidential election, Donald J. Trump threatens to touch off a humiliating spectacle unseen in the United States since the country became a global power.

Diplomats and elected officials in both parties fear that Mr. Trump, if he loses, will inflict grave trauma on the electorate and severely undermine the international reputation of an American political system known for revering the peaceful transfer of power.

Though he trails Hillary Clinton by a wide margin in most polls and has been abandoned by much of his own party, Mr. Trump still commands a powerful bully pulpit that he may use to amplify his unsupported claims that American democracy is a fraudulent system.

The lavish nuptials to Slovenian model Melania Knauss at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, kicked off a nonstop ego trip of a calendar year. The surprisingly successful debut of The Apprentice on NBC in 2004 had wiped away the stain of Trump’s personal and financial failures of the early 1990s. He had become one of the most ubiquitous names in American popular culture, and now, in 2005, he was cashing in with vigor. It wasn’t just Trump-branded buildings anymore. Trump launched Trump everything. Trump vodka. Trump cologne. Trump bottled water. Trump shirts and Trump suits and Trump ties. A Trump doll. A re-released Trump board game. Trump cell phone sounds. He was giving get-rich-quick speeches to packed convention center crowds for a million dollars an hour.

Mr. Burns, who has endorsed Mrs. Clinton for president, called Mr. Trump’s remarks a flagrant violation of American democratic traditions. “I don’t think we’ve had a serious national leader say that since the Confederate leaders of 1860 who refused to accept the election of Lincoln,” he said.

William M. Daley, a former White House chief of staff who was the chairman of Al Gore’s campaign during the 2000 standoff in Florida, said Mr. Trump seemed indifferent to the possibility that his words might weaken trust in the American government, at home and overseas.

Mr. Daley said the Gore team had been cautious not to say anything during the Florida recount that might cripple the next president’s legitimacy, to the point that other Democrats criticized them for being overly cautious. Mr. Trump, he said, was taking the opposite approach.

He really has no appreciation for our history, which most of the world looks at with great admiration, as opposed to some banana republic,” Mr. Daley said. On election night, Mr. Daley said, “he could be tweeting at 3 in the morning and trying to undercut the new administration coming in.

It is unclear whether Mr. Trump has a concrete plan to contest the results of the election if he loses. There is no law that forces a losing candidate to concede defeat — only a bipartisan tradition of comity. But fighting the apparent outcome of a presidential race could require elaborate litigation across numerous states, with virtually no hope of success without hard evidence of extensive fraud.

Mr. Trump has presented no such evidence, instead offering sweeping denunciations of the overall political process, the news media and the judicial system. His language has seemed to conjure images from the developing world and unsteady new democracies — countries like Myanmar and Nigeria, where governments have overturned election results by fiat, and political turbulence has given rise to outbreaks of violence.

In the United States, modern presidential standoffs have been tense but restrained: Mr. Gore mounted an aggressive legal challenge to election results in Florida, but he conceded swiftly once the Supreme Court ruled against him. When John F. Kennedy narrowly defeated Richard M. Nixon in 1960, Nixon publicly renounced his claim to the presidency even as his supporters pressed forward with recounts on the state level.

Only a few presidential elections, with painfully inconclusive results, have yielded more turbulent challenges after Election Day. Two 19th-century presidents who failed to win the popular vote, John Quincy Adams and Rutherford B. Hayes, entered office battered by opponents who said they had won through corrupt means. Neither man served a second term.

In American electoral history, there is only one instance of the losing side in an election simply declining to abide by the outcome, without any substantive legal objection or mathematical uncertainty around the results. That was in 1860, when Abraham Lincoln’s election prompted the secession of Southern states that refused to tolerate his opposition to slavery.

In April, a month in which he gave Hillary Clinton $2,000 for her Senate re-election campaign, Trump told Howard Stern on the radio that he was looking forward to having more kids with his new wife. “I like kids,” he said. “I mean, I won’t do anything to take care of them. I’ll supply funds and she’ll take care of the kids. It’s not like I’m gonna be walking the kids down Central Park.” That same month, in an interview with the Baltimore Sun to promote his upcoming Miss USA beauty pageant, he explained why he had enjoyed watching pageants as a kid (“I always liked watching beautiful women.”) and also why he now appreciated owning them as a man (“The primary thing I want to do is go back and meet all the contestants.”). The pageant that month in Baltimore was hosted by Access Hollwyood hosts Billy Bush and Nancy O’Dell—about whom, Trump would tell Bush later that year on the bus, “I did try and fuck her.”

May was a big month. Trump was learning that with celebrity came a revenue stream that required practically no effort.

He gave a Learning Annex speech to 46,000 people in Los Angeles who paid $499 a ticket to hear him tell them to “never give up,” “go with your gut,” and “don’t lose your momentum.” Flanked by security guards protecting him from the crush of the crowds, he signed autographs for two hours.

Despite the heated passions of Mr. Trump’s political following, he appears unlikely to steer the country into civil war. Still, he has unnerved many American political leaders through what they view as his sheer recklessness.

Benjamin L. Ginsberg, a prominent Republican election lawyer who represented Mr. Bush against Mr. Gore in their 2000 impasse, said Mr. Trump was taking the country into unknown territory.

When people see a close election and exert their rights to the fullest is what we have always considered within bounds,” Mr. Ginsberg said. “But saying somehow that our elections are not going to be accurate and do not adequately convey the will of the majority is different from what we have ever seen before.

Mr. Trump’s campaign has long attracted unusual interest, and in some cases extraordinary alarm, in foreign countries. Several foreign leaders have intervened in the American election to attack his candidacy in strikingly blunt terms; Manuel Valls, the prime minister of France, declared flatly this month that his country supported Mrs. Clinton.

Mr. Trump has also been endorsed by an array of hard-right leaders across Europe, and he has campaigned alongside Nigel Farage, the nationalist politician who led the charge for Britain to leave the European Union.

Mr. Trump’s attack on the American electoral system quickly stirred reaction from activists preoccupied with matters of international democracy and freedom. On Facebook, Shen Tong, a former leader of the Chinese pro-democracy movement who organized protests in Tiananmen Square, wrote that Mr. Trump’s comments had been jarring for anyone who expected an easy “national election and peaceful transition of power in the USA every 4 years.”

Mr. Trump’s “suspense on his acceptance of the election result reminds me how unique this constitutional democracy has been, Mr. Shen wrote, “and how much we’ve taken it for granted.

Donald Trump: 'I will totally accept' election results 'if I win'

Donald J. Trump began this quadrennial exercise in campaign humility and self-deprecation on Thursday by comparing himself to the son of God — just another “carpenter working for his father” in his youth.

By the end, facing cascading and uncomfortable jeers from a crowd full of white ties and gowns, he had called Hillary Clinton Catholic-hating, “so corrupt” and potentially jail-bound in a prospective Trump administration.

“I don’t know who they’re angry at, Hillary, you or I,” Mr. Trump said sheepishly from the dais, turning to his opponent amid the heckling.

It seemed clear to everyone else. Mr. Trump was being booed at a charity dinner.

So it went at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner in Manhattan, a presidential campaign ritual of levity and feigned warmth — upended, like so much else in this election season, by the gale-force bid of Mr. Trump.

Trump offered a stunning declaration during the final presidential debate that he might not accept the results of next month's election. In his first speech since the debate, Trump seemed to simultaneously double down on the stance he articulated Wednesday night while also trying to clean it up.

Trump argued forcefully during a rally here that he was being asked to "waive" his right to contest the election after critics slammed him for refusing to pledge to accept the results of the election the previous night during the final presidential debate.

I would like to promise and pledge to all of my voters and supporters and to all of the people of the United States that I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election, if I win," Trump told supporters here in his first comments since the final debate.
After raising concerns about voter fraud -- instances of which are extremely rare -- Trump also pledged to accept a clear election result.
Of course, I would accept a clear election result, but I would also reserve my right to contest or file a legal challenge in the case of a questionable result," Trump said. "And always, I will follow and abide by all of the rules and traditions of all of the many candidates who have come before me. Always.

Just before taking the dais, Hillary accidentally bumped into me. And she very civilly said, ‘Pardon me,’” Mr. Trump said, as murmurs filled the room. “I very politely replied, ‘Let me talk to you about that after I get into office.

Mrs. Clinton, seeming to get the joke before some others, chuckled hard before the punch line.

But quickly, his remarks took a more menacing turn.

Mr. Trump said Mrs. Clinton was merely pretending not to hate Catholics, an allusion to hacked correspondences from Clinton aides that appeared to include messages criticizing Roman Catholic conservatism.

He wondered aloud how someone like Mrs. Clinton — “so corrupt,” he said — could sell herself to the American people. “What’s her pitch? he asked. The economy is busted, the government’s corrupt, Washington is failing. Vote for me.

He fake-griped that all the jokes were given to her in advance.

By then, he had decisively lost the room. Those on the dais with him seemed to almost visibly writhe away from him at points — brows furrowing, smiles turning to grimaces. One man beside Mr. Trump became a viral sensation on social media, his face frozen and eye bulged by a quip gone awry.

As for Mrs. Clinton, she began with some easy self-parody.

I took a break from my rigorous nap schedule to be here, she said, adding, “Usually, I charge a lot for speeches like this.

But she soon turned to more cutting satire, joking that Mr. Trump was “translating from the original Russian” on his teleprompters and wondering just how President Obama might be able to visit the White House for a reunion of former presidents under a Trump administration.

“How is Barack going to get past the Muslim ban?” she asked.

Noting that she was speaking second, she riffed: “It’s amazing I’m up here after Donald. I didn’t think he’d be O.K. with a peaceful transition of power.”

She also spoke of the Statue of Liberty, recounting how for most Americans, the green lady of freedom represents a shining beacon of hope and a welcome symbol for immigrants arriving on the nation’s shores. But Mr. Trump, she added with a glint of steel, “looks at the Statue of Liberty and sees a 4” — a not-so-veiled reference to his comments rating the physical appearance of women.

Maybe a 5 if she loses the torch and tablet and changes her hair, she continued, before making an explicit, if subtle, pitch for becoming the nation’s first female president.

"I would like to promise and pledge to all of my voters and supporters, and to all of the people of the United States, that when the results come in on election night, I will accept -- without delay or hesitation -- the concession speech of Hillary Rodham Clinton," read the alternate text of Trump's pledge to accept the presidential election results if he wins.
The question about accepting the election's results was posed to Trump on Wednesday night after the Republican nominee spent weeks arguing that there was a mass "establishment" conspiracy seeking to undermine his candidacy.
Trump's talk of a "rigged" election came after nearly a dozen women came forward last week alleging that Trump had groped or kissed them without their consent -- prompting a deluge of defections from Republicans who had been supporting his campaign and unfavorable media coverage.
But in previous months, Trump had already begun suggesting to his supporters that the election could be stolen, urging them to be vigilant on Election Day and watch for cases of voter fraud, which are extremely rare in the US.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton share stage 24 hours after trading jibes in bitter final debate

It was tense even before they started. Reporters tweeted that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump entered the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner from separate sides of the room, and didn't even shake hands (which at this point really isn't a surprise).

But there was hope that Thursday night's event could serve as a comedic salve for the nation following three decidedly nasty presidential debates. The fundraising event for Catholic charities — now in its 71st year — traditionally is a time for the candidates to offer jokes about themselves and their opponent.

Trump spoke first, and it was hard at times to tell if he was joking. Trump complained about all the politicians who loved him, his money and his endorsements before he decided to run for president. "Suddenly, [they] decided when I ran for president as a Republican that I've always been a no-good, rotten, disgusting scoundrel. And they totally forgot about me." And he continued, to silence from the crowd, "but that's OK.

For decades, the two major party presidential candidates have appeared together at the dinner, taking a break from the acrimony on the campaign trail to each share moments of levity.

The jabs at each other have been polite, and the best jokes have been the ones they have made about themselves.

At the 2008 dinner, John McCain mocked his place in the polls, as well as the rivalry between Barack Obama and Clinton.

"There are signs of hope. Even in the most unexpected places, even in this room full of proud Manhattan Democrats," he said.

I can't - I can't shake that feeling that some people here are pulling for me... I'm delighted to see you here tonight, Hillary.

And there were even more boos when Trump alluded to recent emails dumped by WikiLeaks showing Clinton staffers disparaging conservative Catholics. "Here she is tonight, in public, pretending not to hate Catholics."

Clinton, as she's known to do, smiled throughout. But when it was her turn she also let her opponent have it, ribbing him over his recent allegations that the election might be rigged, and that he may not accept the results of the vote. "It's amazing I'm up here after Donald," Clinton said. "I didn't think he'd be OK with a peaceful transition of power."
Donald Trump Says He'll Accept The Results Of The Election ... If He Wins
Donald Trump Says He'll Accept The Results Of The Election ... If He Wins

She mocked Trump for talking over her during the debates. She mocked Trump's running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, for defending Trump to no end, saying she'd enjoy listening to Trump's VP pick denying Trump ever gave his Al Smith Dinner speech. She mocked Trump on the way he talks about women's looks, saying he'd rank the Statue of Liberty a four, maybe a five if she loses the torch and tablet and changes her hair.

At the end of his speech, McCain actually congratulated Obama for his achievement as the first African-American nominee of a major party.

"Though I do trust we can keep the turnout amongst deceased and fictional voters to a minimum, I have come out on both sides of elections and I have never lost my confidence in the judgment of the American people," he said.

Contrast that tone to now: On Thursday, Trump said he would accept the results of the general election - if he wins.

Clinton has staked much of her fall strategy on characterising her opponent as unfit for the presidency.

To say the least, it will be an awkward moment - and the speculation is that each candidate will simply try to avoid the other as much as possible.