New Yorkers are weighing in on Ted Cruz’s “New York values” remark at Thursday’s Republican presidential debate with their typical city bite.
They took to social media following comments Cruz made about the city as part of an attack on New York businessman and rival candidate Donald Trump, who Cruz accused of “embodying New York values.”
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During the debate, moderator Maria Bartiromo asked Cruz to explain past comments he had made about Trump embodying "New York values."
"You know, I think most people know exactly what New York values are," the candidate said.
"I am from New York. I don't," Bartiromo said.
"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, are pro-abortion, are pro-gay marriage, focus around money and the media," Cruz said.
The jab appeared to be an attempt to dismantle Trump's identity as a conservative, but many said it backfired after an emotional response from Trump, who was born and raised in Queens.
“[Cruz] has insulted a lot of people. New York is a great place, great people, loving people, and wonderful people," he said.
Trump also recalled his hometown’s response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"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," Trump said. "That was a very insulting statement that Ted made."
Trump continued, "The people of New York fought and fought, and we saw more death, and even the smell of death, it was with us for months. We rebuilt downtown Manhattan and everybody in the world watched."
Cruz clapped along with the audience after Trump’s reply.
Elected officials in New York jumped into the fray Friday.
"[Cruz] does not understand in the least New York values," said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "I find myself for once agreeing with Donald Trump."
And Hillary Clinton tweeted: "Just this once, Trump's right. New Yorkers value hard work, diversity, tolerance, resilience, and building better lives for our families."
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Cruz managed to offend the many demographics of New York in 30 seconds.
Even New York Republicans piled on. Former mayor Rudy Giuliani said Cruz should apologize to New Yorkers and to Americans "for trying to split us down the middle." Rep. Peter King, a Republican from Long Island, told Politico that Cruz should "go back under a rock."
Meanwhile, the ever-combative Daily News hits the streets with a big front-page illustration of the Statue of Liberty giving Cruz the finger. The headline: "DROP DEAD, TED."
Willie Perry, a real estate salesman and registered Republican, said of the "New York values" comment as he headed to work in New York City. ""Like that's a bad thing? Actually it's a good thing. I think that's ludicrous. What did he mean by that?"
John Markowski, a minister who was dropping his son off at a public school, said: "It's insulting for anyone to make a derogatory comment about New York values. I think we pride ourselves on being a place of diversity and equality."
Not all New Yorkers disagreed with Cruz, however. Lorraine Zawasky of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn -- a community among the top supporters of Cruz in New York, along with Rye and the Upper East Side -- told NBC 4, "Well, he's right, we have no values here."
Zawasky gave Cruz $55 to help him win the White House.
"My neighbors, most of them are decent but you got a lot of low-lifes here, too," she said.
One in 38 Americans lives in New York City, but the state's record of going for the Democrat in the winner-take-all electoral college system means Republicans rarely have to worry about insulting the populace.
Bashing the big city has long been a winning strategy in more conservative parts of the country, namely the Midwest and the South. (Likewise, New Yorkers have long been famous for looking down their noses at — well, everyone).
Not a lot of New Yorkers have given money to Cruz's bid for the White House. His campaign took in only about $487,000 from New York contributors through Sept. 30, according to the most recent filings. But one New Yorker, Wall Street hedge fund mogul Robert Mercer, contributed $11 million last April to a super PAC that supports Cruz.
Cruz "has no trouble taking money from New York City, but he's quick to insult our people and our values," said de Blasio.