‘Friendly Roast in 2015,’ ‘HRC Being Roasted’
In July 2021, a TikTok video was shared to Facebook, bearing the labels “Friendly Roast in 2015” and “HRC Being Roasted” — purportedly showing former U.S. President Donald Trump “roasting” former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in an unspecified setting:
@thepotterslave1Anybody remember this in 2015…? ##roast ##trump♬ original sound – thepotterslave1
That iteration was shared by user @thepotterslave, and two handles were visible on the footage (another being @indyiceman79). In the clip, Trump said:
I am told Hillary went to confession before tonight’s event, but the priest was having a hard time and he asked her about her sins and she said she could not remember 39 times. Hillary is so corrupt, she got kicked off the Watergate commission.
How corrupt do you have to be to get kicked off the Watergate commission? Pretty corrupt. Hillary is and has been in politics since the 1970s. What is her pitch? The economy is busted, the government is corrupt, Washington is failing. Vote for me. I have been working on these problems for 30 years. I can fix it, she says.
I was not really sure if Hillary was going to be here tonight, because, I guess, you did not send her an invitation by email, or maybe you did and she just found out about it through the wonder of WikiLeaks. We have learned so much from WikiLeaks. For example, Hillary Clinton believes it is vital to deceive the people by having one public policy—
And it a different policy in private. That’s okay. I don’t know who they are angry at. Here she is tonight in public, pretending not to hate Catholics.
Now, if some of you have not noticed, Hillary is not laughing as much as the rest of us. That’s because she knows the jokes. All of the jokes were given to her in advance of the dinner by Donna Brazile—
Everyone knows, of course, Hillary has believed that it takes a village, which only makes sense, after all, in places like Haiti, where she has taken a number of them.
None of the variations we tracked down offered information about the context of the purported “friendly roast,” but searching Trump’s phrasing led us to coverage of the event. On YouTube, the New York Times published a longer video depicting the events of the night. A description explained:
Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump deliver remarks at the Al Smith charity dinner at the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan.
NPR reported on the event on the day after it occurred (October 20 2016, not 2015), in a piece titled “At Al Smith Dinner, Donald Trump Turns Friendly Roast Into 3-Alarm Fire,” explaining:
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 [on October 20 2016] 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.”
On October 21 2016, Vox.com published “Read the full speeches: Clinton and Trump’s awkward Al Smith charity dinner roasts.” Clinton’s speech was also transcribed by that outlet, and she said in part:
It is a special honor to be here with your eminence. I know you were criticized for inviting both Donald and me here tonight. You responded by saying, “If I only sat down with those who are saints, I would be taking all my meals alone.” Now, just to be clear, I think the cardinal is saying I’m not eligible for sainthood. But getting through these three debates with Donald has to count as a miracle.
So I guess I am up against the highest, hardest stained-glass ceiling. But, your eminence, you do deserve great credit for bringing together two people who have been at each other’s throats, mortal enemies, bitter foes. I’ve got to ask, how did you get the governor and mayor here together tonight?
I’ve got to say, there are a lot of friendly faces in this room, people I have been privileged to know and work with. I just want to put you all in a basket of adorables. And you look so good in your tuxes, or as I refer to them, formal pantsuits.
And because this dinner is for such a great cause, Donald, if at any time you don’t like what I’m saying, feel free to stand up and shout “Wrong” while I’m talking. Come to think of it, it’s amazing I am appearing after Donald. I did not think he would be okay with a peaceful transition of power. And, Donald, after listening to your speech, I will also enjoy listening to Mike Pence deny that you ever gave it.
I have had the privilege of being at the Al Smith dinners in years past, and I always enjoy it. But remember, if you are not happy with the way it comes out, it must be rigged. And it’s always a special treat for me to be back in New York, a city which I love and I think truly embodies the best of America. Don’t you think?
A video circulated in July 2021 labeled as a “Friendly Roast in 2015” and “HRC Being Roasted” included genuine footage of Trump “roasting” Clinton. That event occurred in October 2016, however (not 2015), and both candidates “roasted” the other. However, it did not seem to be a “roast,” but rather a preview of what was to come: Contemporaneous news coverage frequently described the tenor of the event as “tense,” completely unlike previous good-natured “roasting” between previous contenders for the White House.