Donald Trump is finding himself with strange bedfellows after Thursday’s Republican debate, after he gave a rousing defense of “New York values” in response to attacks by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
Among those who seconded his comments: prominent Democrats Hillary Clinton, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
During the debate, Cruz was asked to clarify his suggestion that Trump “embodies New York values.”
Cruz said, “You know, I think most people know exactly what New York values are.”
“I am from New York. I don’t,” debate moderator Maria Bartiromo responded.
The Texas senator then shot back, to a round of laughter: “What — what — you’re from New York? So you might not. But I promise you, in the state of South Carolina, they do.”
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“Listen,” he went on, “there are many, many wonderful, wonderful working men and women in the state of New York. But 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.”
It’s an attack line that’s played well for Cruz on the campaign trail, especially during recent stops in the early-nominating states of Iowa and New Hampshire.
Trump immediately countered by invoking the specter of the 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, commending city dwellers for their work to rebuild their lives in the aftermath.
Republican U.S. presidential candidate businessman Donald Trump speaks during the Fox Business Network Republican presidential candidates debate in North Charleston, South Carolina, January 14, 2016.
“New York is a great place. It’s got great people, it’s got loving people, wonderful people,” Trump said. “When the World Trade Center came down, I saw something that no place on Earth could have handled more beautifully, more humanely than New York… And the people in New York fought and fought and fought, and we saw more death, and even the smell of death. Nobody understood it. And it was with us for months, the smell, the air.”
“And we rebuilt downtown Manhattan, and everybody in the world watched and everybody in the world loved New York and loved New Yorkers. And I have to tell you, that was a very insulting statement that Ted made,” he added.
The comment drew loud applause Thursday, and even Democrats couldn’t help but agree with the GOP frontrunner.
Former New York Sen. Hillary Clinton tweeted early Friday that Trump was correct “just this once.”
Just this once, Trump’s right: New Yorkers value hard work, diversity, tolerance, resilience, and building better lives for our families. -H
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) January 15, 2016
And other notable Democratic voices representing the 8.5 million city residents joined her.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called on Cruz to issue an apology, saying Friday that the Texas Republican “does not understand in the least ‘New York values.'”
“On behalf of all New Yorkers, I am disgusted at the insults that Ted Cruz threw at this city and its people,” de Blasio said at city hall. “I think it was right for Donald Trump to defend New York and to talk about the heroic actions of the people of this city after 9/11.”
De Blasio lobbed his own attack at Cruz, who he accused of hypocrisy when it comes to funding his political career with Wall Street dollars.
Republican U.S. presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz gestures towards rival candidate businessman Donald Trump (L) as he speaks at the Fox Business Network Republican presidential candidates debate in North Charleston, South Carolina January 14, 2016.
“He has no trouble taking money from New York City, but he’s quick to insult our people and our values,” snapped de Blasio. “But I think it’s really going to backfire. People are going to see through this as hypocrisy of the highest order.”
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told CNN Friday that Cruz’s hit on the city’s values was “anti-American.”
“I think it’s disturbing for all Americans — not just New York,” Cuomo said. “He is practicing the politics of division. He’s trying to divide people. He’s trying to divide this country. It doesn’t work and it’s antithetical to who we are.”
He added: “In 30 seconds, he offended gays, he offended women, he offended 18 million people and he offended one of the largest congressional delegations in the country…You can’t govern like that. You can’t win a campaign like that. And he’s getting worst and the discussion is only degenerating.”
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