Speaker Paul Ryan roasts President Trump at Al Smith dinner

NEW YORK — House Speaker Paul Ryan opened his speech at the Al Smith Dinner here with a joke about President Donald Trump.

"Please, enough. You sound like the Cabinet when Donald Trump walks into the room," he said as the audience applauded while he walked up to the podium, likely referring to the repeated occurrence of Cabinet officials' praising the president in front of television cameras.

Ryan, R-Wis., was the keynote speaker at the 72nd annual charity dinner for the Alfred E. Smith Foundation, which has close ties to the Catholic Archdiocese of New York. It's named for the Democrats' 1928 presidential nominee, the first Catholic nominated by a major party.

Ryan maintained the tradition of speeches that are traditionally roasts, mostly of high-profile politicians. And many of Ryan's jokes were directed at the president.

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Paul Ryan through his career
Speaker of the House Denis Hastert (L) administers the oath of office to Rep. Paul Ryan (R) of Wisconsin as his family looks on January 6, 1999 at the start of the 106th Congress. The oath is a recreation as the formal oath is administered to the entire congress as a body on the floor of the House. (photo by Rex Banner)
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KRT US NEWS STORY SLUGGED: SOCIALSECURITY-DISCUSSION KRT PHOTOGRAPH BY GEORGE BRIDGES/KRT (April 14) Conversation on Social Security between Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), shown, and William Novelli, head of AARP, April 5, 2005 (lde) 2005 (Photo by George Bridges/MCT/MCT via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JULY 22: MEDICARE BRIEFING--Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., speaks at a Cato Institute briefing on Medicare reform in the Rayburn House Office Building. Tom Miller, director of Health Policy Studies at Cato, looks on. (Photo by Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 24: Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) questions Peter Orszag, director of the Congressional Budget Office, during a hearing on Capitol Hill about the impact of recent market turmoil on the federal budget on September 24, 2008 in Washington, DC. Orszag reported that while the impact is currently unknown, it is likely to be substantially less than $700 billion. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - APRIL 27: House Budget Committee ranking member Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) (R) delivers an opening statement during a conference committee meeting with Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) (L) and House Budget Committee Chairman John Spratt (D-SC) in the U.S. Capitol April 27, 2009 in Washington, DC. House and Senate lawmakers have already struck a tentative deal on the FY2010 budget resolution and they hope to file a conference report after today's meeting. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - MARCH 19: (L-R) U.S. House Minority Whip Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) listen during a news conference on the health care legislation March 19, 2010 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The House will vote on the Health Care Reform Legislation on Sunday, March 21. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Representative Paul Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin and chairman of the House Budget Committee, speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, April 5, 2011. U.S. House Republicans today unveiled a plan to overhaul the federal budget and slash the deficit in coming years by about three-quarters, with a $6-trillion cut in spending and 25 percent cap on tax rates. Photographer: Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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Representative Paul Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin, arrives at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015. Ryan said he'd be willing to run for speaker of the U.S. House if Republicans unify behind him now, end leadership crises and let him continue spending time with his family. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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Representative Paul Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin, walks to a meeting in the basement of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015. Ryan is set to meet with a group of House conservatives Tuesday as he weighs a potential run to replace Speaker John Boehner under pressure from fellow Republicans. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Representative Paul Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin and chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, center, talks to the media after walking out of the U.S. Capitol building following a vote in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, Oct. 9, 2015. Ryan is under heavy pressure from fellow Republicans to run for U.S. House speaker after a hard-line faction forced Speaker John Boehner to resign and his top lieutenant to drop out of the race. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 20 - Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., speaks at a news conference following a House Republican meeting, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015. Ryan is stating that he will run for speaker only if he receives enough GOP support by the end of the week. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)
US Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin, awaits the arrival of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin for a meeting at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, December 10, 2015. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB / AFP / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 10: House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) holds his weekly press briefing on Capitol Hill on December 10, 2015 in Washington, D.C. Paul Ryan spoke on topics including Donald Trump and the spending bill. (Photo by Allison Shelley/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 15: Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, (R-WI) speaks during a Politico interview at the Grand Hyatt on December 15, 2015 in Washington DC. Ryan was interviewed by Politico's Chief White House Correspondent Mike Allen during a Politico Playbook Breakfast. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
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"Every morning, I wake up in my office and scroll Twitter to see which tweets I will have to pretend that I didn't see later," said Ryan, who is often asked what he thinks about Trump's controversial tweets. For months, he responded by saying he didn't respond to the president's tweets.

The white-tie affair gets its most attention in presidential election years, when the major-party nominees roast each other.

Last year's dinner was a rather tense affair, as Trump's comments were biting and he was mostly defensive. Ryan didn't let that night a year ago pass unremarked upon:

"I know last year at this dinner Donald Trump offended some people with his comments, which critics said went too far. Some said it was unbecoming of a public figure and that his comments were offensive. ... Well, thank God he's learned his lesson."

Related: How An Awkward Charity Dinner Summed Up the 2016 Campaign

Not all of Ryan's jokes targeted Trump. He didn't forget Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and the news media:

  • "I'm from Wisconsin. It's a great state to visit in the fall. Looking back, someone should have told Hillary Speaking of which, I got Hillary's new book. This sums up today's politics perfectly. She took eight months, writing 10 hours a day, to explain what happened in 512 pages. The president explained it in a tweet. Hash tag, I won."
  • "Everyone will report what happened here tonight differently. Breitbart will lead with 'Ryan slams the president amongst liberal elites.' The New York Times will report 'Ryan defends the President in a state Hillary won.' And the president will tweet, '300,000 at Al Smith dinner cheer mention of my name.'"
  • "Every afternoon, former Speaker John Boehner calls me up. Not to give advice. Just to laugh."
  • "I learned how to handle insults. Steve Bannon said I was born in a petri dish at the Heritage Foundation. This is amazing — no one knew Steve believed in science."
  • "I know why Chuck [Schumer] has been so hard on President Trump. It's not ideological. Chuck is just mad he lost his top donor."

Schumer was supposed to have been at the dinner, but he missed it because of the late-night votes during which the Senate passed a fiscal year 2018 budget bill.

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