Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, one of Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump’s top surrogates, wasn’t amused when Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton took aim at him and Trump Thursday evening at a New York charity dinner.
The annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner typically features both major-party presidential candidates in election years. The party standard bearers typically offer a mix of self-deprecating jokes and light ribbing of their opponents at the event, which raises millions of dollars for children’s causes.
In this unpredictable election year, however, the dinner devolved into sharp political attacks. Trump, in particular, harshly attacked Clinton. In front of Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, he accused her of hating Catholics. Trump also repeatedly a widely debunked story about Clinton being fired from the committee that investigated President Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal and repeatedly referred to her as “corrupt.”
Clinton – who has surged to a lead most national polls after Trump’s stumbling debate performances and accusations that he may have groped women – stuck to a more traditional script in her remarks at the dinner, but still had time for some serious barbs at Trump and Giuliani.
“People look at the Statue of Liberty, and they see a proud history of a nation of immigrants — a beacon of hope for people around the world,” Clinton said. “Donald looks at the Statue of Liberty and sees a 4. Maybe a 5 if she loses the torch and tablet and changes her hair.”
Spotted by a camera as he sat in the rear corner of the dais alongside his Democratic predecessor David N. Dinkins, Giuliani scowled and grimaced while Dinkins and the rest of the crowd laughed.
Clinton then took an even sharper dig at Giuliani, who began his career as a Justice Department prosecutor before serving as U.S. Attorney in Manhattan.
“Many don’t know this, but Rudy actually got his start as a prosecutor going after wealthy New Yorkers who avoided paying taxes,” Clinton said, making a reference to Trump’s apparent tax avoidance. “But as the saying goes, if you can’t beat ’em, go on Fox News and call ‘em a genius.”
Cutting back to Giuliani, the camera showed a picture of fury. Described on social media as a “death stare” or worse, the mayor appeared furious – even as Trump laughed.
Giuliani has not publicly commented on the dinner, but he may be forced to address his scowl as he continues to appear on Fox News and other programs to promote Trump’s candidacy in the homestretch of the 2016 election.