A day after Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz drew the ire of New Yorkers with his comment suggesting that "New York values" included a focus on money and media, the Texas senator is doubling down on his criticism of the "liberal elite" here.
Asked by a reporter after a South Carolina event Friday if he would apologize for his comments, Cruz responded, "Well, you're right, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Andrew Cuomo and Bill de Blasio have all demanded an apology, and I'm happy to apologize."
But he continued, in rhetoric that made clear the apology wasn't the one expected of him: "I apologize to the millions of New Yorkers who have been let down by liberal politicians in that state."
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"I apologize to all the pro-life, pro-marriage, pro-Second Amendment New Yorkers who were told by Gov. Cuomo that they have no place in New York because that's not who New Yorkers are," he said.
"I apologize to all the small businesses who have been driven out of New York City by crushing taxes and regulations," he added.
Perhaps in one of the most inflammatory parts of his "apology," Cruz said: "I apologize to all the cops and firefighters and 9/11 heroes who had no choice but to stand and turn their backs on Mayor de Blasio because Mayor de Blasio over and over again stands with the looters and criminals rather than the brave men and women."
He went on to say he had "good news to the good people of New York."
"I believe 2016 is going to be an election like 1980, and help is on the way," he said. "People are waking up, and just like millions of New Yorkers, they're fed up with policies that don't fight for the working men and women of this country but instead further the elite liberal views that have taken this country down a path that is not working."
De Blasio and Cuomo - two New York figures who have often been at odds in recent months - joined forces to respond to Cruz's comments with an opinion piece published Friday night by the New York Daily News.
"If he had any class or possessed true presidential timber, Ted Cruz would offer New Yorkers a real apology instead of sarcasm," the pair wrote. "His rhetoric this week is unfit for anyone who hopes to lead the American people."
True New York values, the two wrote, are defined by: "Acceptance. Compassion. Tolerance. Resilience. Equality. The principles that built the greatest nation on the earth, and that continue to help guide it today."
Donald Trump also criticized Cruz's statement, taking to Twitter to call it a "wiseguy apology" and a disgrace.
During the debate Thursday, 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, before going on to detail the "beautiful, humane" response he saw in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
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.