POLITICS

With focus on Empire State, Cruz's 'New York values' quip comes back to haunt him

Republican candidate Ted Cruz on Monday, April 4, 2016, in Waukesha, Wis.

Republican candidate Ted Cruz on Monday, April 4, 2016, in Waukesha, Wis.  (ap)

Donald Trump has a message for Empire State residents – a damaging accusation, he believes, involving his GOP rival, Ted Cruz.

The Texan, he said, hates New York, plain and simple.

"He hates New Yorkers, and he's trying to put a different spin on it," Trump said of Cruz on "The Cats Roundtable" radio show on AM 970.

"He's a very anti-New York guy, and I guarantee if he ever made it to president, New York could forget about the federal government," Trump said, according to the New York Daily News.

At a GOP debate in January, Cruz attempted to criticize Trump by saying that he represented “New York values.”

“Everybody understands that the values in New York City are socially liberal and pro-abortion and pro-gay marriage,” Cruz said. “And focus on money and the media.”

At the debate Trump quickly pounced, reminding the audience about how New Yorkers came together after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

“I saw something that no place on earth could have handled more beautifully, more humanely than New York,” Trump said, as Cruz looked on. “The people in New York fought and fought and fought. We saw more death, and even the smell of death, and it was with us for months.”

Since then, particularly in recent days, as Cruz has been campaigning in New York, the conservative senator has tried to explain his comment as referring to the liberal political leaders of New York not its residents.

On the Sunday radio show, Trump denounced Cruz for voting against giving aid to New York in the aftermath of the devastating Superstorm Sandy.

“He voted against appropriations for New York … for Sandy, for other things, voted against them,” Trump said. “Now he's trying to pretend like all of this stuff never happened.”

Cruz has not had a smooth time in New York.

He was heckled by angry New Yorkers during a campaign stop at the Sabrosura restaurant in the Bronx, with one protester getting the heave-ho by security to cheers from the crowd.

“You’re running on an anti-immigrant platform, and you’re speaking in the Bronx,” the demonstrator said. “You should not be here.”

When Cruz arrived at the restaurant, protesters shouted at Cruz and told him he should "get out of the Bronx."

Cruz also was disinvited on Tuesday from a speaking engagement at the Bronx Lighthouse College Preparatory Academy after students threatened a walkout.

Cruz’s tour through the Bronx is part of his campaign’s strategy to steal New York from hometown candidate Donald Trump by winning over evangelical voters. To this end, Cruz met with state Sen. Ruben Diaz and Hispanic clergy leaders.

"We are conservative," Diaz said, according to New York City news station NY1. "We are religious people. We believe what we believe. People try to put us down. The values there are two different values."

Diaz, however, has a divided family as his son – and the Bronx borough president – Ruben Diaz Jr. slammed Cruz as a hypocrite for deriding “New York values” before coming to the city to campaign.

“Ted Cruz is a hypocrite. He not only offended New Yorkers, he offended Bronxites, and now he’s here today in New York and in the Bronx looking for money and votes,” Diaz Jr. said. “We in the Bronx know how offensive he’s been. We know the truth about our borough.”

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