While the Republican and Democratic candidates have arguably never been more at odds, both Trump and Clinton will honor a 56-year tradition by attending the Al Smith dinner in New York City on Thursday. The event is held near the end of every presidential election, as part of a symbolic gesture of goodwill.
Given the heated nature of this year’s contest, one can only hope that the food remains on the plates.
Throughout the general election, Clinton and Trump have traded barbs. During Wednesday night’s event, an exchange ensued after Trump suggested that he would not guarantee that he would recognize the outcome of the election next month, saying "I’ll keep you in suspense."
"That’s horrifying," Clinton responded. "You know, every time Donald thinks things are not going in his direction, he claims whatever it is, is rigged against him."
Trump sort-of clarified on Thursday, saying, "I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election if I win."
Another concern for the gala is the fact that the event serves as a kind of comedy roast. The master of ceremonies, Alfred E. Smith IV, is expected to make a few lighthearted jokes at the candidates’ expense, as is customary.
The Republican nominee, however, isn’t known for taking criticism well. While he has made a number of jovial appearances on late night shows including Saturday Night Live, he has recently demonstrated a clear dislike for certain ways that he is depicted.
In the wake of the most recent SNL, the candidate tweeted that the show should be canceled. In August, it was revealed that when taking part in a Comedy Central roast in 2011, Trump stressed that comedians were not allowed to make jokes that insinuated he was less wealthy than he claims.
The multiple sexual assault allegations also seem to have gotten under the billionaire’s skin. Earlier on Thursday, a tenth accuser, Karena Virginia, said Trump groped her at the US Open in 1998. It’s hard to imagine that the allegations will not be brought up during the dinner.
Hopefully they will not serve steak, since it may be best to not give guests anything sharper than a butter knife.