After taking a shot in Thursday night’s Republican presidential debate at rival Donald Trump for embodying “New York values,” Texas Sen. Ted Cruz got an earful of criticism Friday that sent the message: Don’t mess with New York.
Cruz’s comments drew sharp retorts for being insulting, divisive and hypocritical from New Yorkers including Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford).
They stood by Trump’s response to Cruz that recalled the values of the first responders who worked at Ground Zero after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack. And they called Cruz’s remarks offensive to all Americans.
Even New York’s former junior senator — Democratic presidential candidate and Chappaqua resident Hillary Clinton — jumped in with a tweet: “Just this once, Trump’s right: New Yorkers value hard work, diversity, tolerance, resilience, and building better lives for our families. — H”
At the debate, Cruz said: “Everyone understands that the values in New York City are socially liberal or pro-abortion or pro-gay marriage, focus around money and the media. . . . Not a lot of conservatives come out of Manhattan. I’m just saying.”
King fired out a tweet: “NY Values are the heroes of 9/11; the cops who fight terror; and the people you ask for campaign $. Go back under a rock.”
Cuomo, on CNN, accused Cruz of “practicing the politics of division. In 30 seconds, he offended gays, he offended women, he offended 18 million people, he offended one of the largest congressional delegations.”
In a radio interview, Cuomo added, “If he had any class, he would apologize to the people of New York — not that I believe they need it or they want it.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio said he was “disgusted at the insults that Ted Cruz threw at this city and its people,” and also demanded an apology.
“I find it very ironic that Ted Cruz has no trouble taking money from New York City but is quick to insult our people and values,” de Blasio said. “This is a hypocrisy of the highest order.”
On Friday, Cruz told reporters in South Carolina: “Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and Andrew Cuomo and Bill de Blasio have all demanded an apology and I am happy to apologize. I apologize to the millions of New Yorkers who have been let down by liberal politicians in that state.”
Cruz has raised $490,600 from New Yorkers, his presidential campaign finance filings show. Cruz also is backed by an $11 million super PAC funded by New York hedge fund manager Robert Mercer of St. James.
Mercer and New York and Suffolk County Republican chairmen did not respond to queries. Nassau County Republican chairman Joseph Mondello declined to comment.
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) said in a statement, “For me ‘New York values’ means grit, resolve, pride, strength, diversity, and exceptionalism. I’m proud to be a New Yorker so I’d just say ‘thank you for the compliment’ and move forward.”
With Maria Alvarez