Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton in painfully awkward fundraiser roast

Donald Trump looks at Hillary Clinton after speaking at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation dinner (Reuters)
Donald Trump looks at Hillary Clinton after speaking at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation dinner (Reuters)

A fundraising event featuring Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton turned awkward when instead of a light roasting, they gave each other a brutal grilling.

It's a tradition in the United States that in the last few weeks of the Presidential campaign, the two candidates attend the Alfred E Smith dinner, a Catholic fundraising event with a bit of mutual roasting.

In the past, the dinner has been a light reprieve from heavy campaign schedules and harsh debates.

But this year, perhaps unsurprisingly, was an incredibly awkward exception.

Republican nominee Donald Trump started out well and got lots of laughs, but was soon after booed for comments he made to the room of Catholic leaders in New York.

It started out frostily, when like the last two debates, Mr Trump and Ms Clinton did not shake hands.

"I wasn't really sure if Hillary was going to be here tonight because, I guess, you didn't send her invitation by email," Mr Trump said.

"Or maybe you did, and she just found out about it through the wonder of WikiLeaks."

"We've learned so much from WikiLeaks. For example, Hillary believes that it is vital to deceive the people by having one public policy and a totally different policy in private."

He was quickly booed, but in response he chose to take things even more sour, saying: "That's ok, I don't know who they're angry at, Hillary, you or I. For example, here she is tonight, in public, pretending not to hate Catholics."

The jeers from the audience were unusual for the event, CNN reported.

"I've been to that dinner like six, seven, eight times," Christine Quinn, the former speaker of New York's city council, told CNN's Anderson Cooper. "I've never heard boos like that. Never."

There were no kind words offered from either candidate. Ms Clinton took the chance to fire more political shots at Mr Trump, accusing him of "translating from the original Russian" when he read off teleprompters.

Ms Clinton also made references to Mr Trump's friendship with Russia, saying: "Donald really is as healthy as a horse - you know, the one Vladimir Putin rides around on."