NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Amid heat from both sides of the aisle following his comments about “New York values” during Thursday night’s Republican presidential debate. Ted Cruz issued an apology – but not for his remarks.
In South Carolina late Friday, Cruz spoke to a swarm of reporters asking for his reaction to demands for an apology — including CBS News’ Weijia Jiang. Cruz did not apologize for his remarks, but instead used the occasion to slam both Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio for a variety of policies and controversies, as CBS2’s Jessica Schneider reported.
“You’re right. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and Andrew Cuomo and Bill de Blasio have all demanded an apology, and I’m happy to apologize. I apologize to the millions of New Yorkers that have been let down by liberal politicians in that state,” Cruz said.
Cruz then attacked Cuomo’s policies, including the governor’s stance against hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, and in favor of same-sex marriage rights, abortion rights and gun control.
“I apologize to the hardworking men and women in the state of New York who have been denied jobs because Governor Cuomo won’t allow fracking even though there’s been many high-paying jobs just south in Pennsylvania. New Yorkers are denied the ability to provide for their families,” Cruz said. “I apologize to all the pro-life and pro-marriage and pro-Second Amendment New Yorkers who were told by Governor Cuomo that they have no place in New York, because that’s who New Yorkers are.”
Cruz went on to attack Mayor de Blasio for a variety of policies and controversies, including the mayor’s stance in favor of limiting charter schools.
“I apologize to all of the African-American children, whom Mayor de Blasio tried to throw out of their charter schools that were providing a lifeline to the American dream,” he said.
Cruz also went into claims that de Blasio did not support police officers.
In late 2014, Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association Pat Lynch and other critics accused de Blasio of taking the side of protesters after a grand jury declined to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the police-involved death of Eric Garner. Thousands of officers went on to turn their backs on the mayor at the funerals of officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, who were shot and killed in an ambush attack in Brooklyn.
“I apologize to all the cops, and the 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 in blue,” Cruz said.
Cruz also attacked taxes and regulations in New York, which he blamed for “crushing” small businesses and driving them from New York City.
The mayor and governor took Cruz to task for his latest remarks in an op-ed in the New York Daily News late Friday.
“In a misguided attempt to profit from the politics of division, he has decided to write off and vilify a city of 8.5 million people and a state of 20 million,” they wrote. “That’s wrong — no matter what party you’re in.”
They were also among multiple New York lawmakers who took issue with Cruz’s earlier remarks, and some were further displeased that Cruz asked New Yorkers to donate to his campaign just after the debate where he made the remarks.
As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, the controversy was launched during the debate on Thursday night, when the Texas senator was asked by debate moderator Maria Bartiromo to explain what he meant when he said Republican front-runner Donald Trump embodies “New York values.”
“I think most people know what New York values are,” Cruz replied.
When Bartiromo pointed out that she herself was from New York, Cruz said, “You’re from New York, so you might not (know what New York values are), but I promise you in the state of South Carolina, they do.”
“There are 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,” Cruz went on.
He added that “not a lot of conservatives come out of Manhattan.”
Trump fired back and defended his home state, saying he found the comment “insulting” and talked about how New Yorkers came together after the 9/11 terror 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,” he said. “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.”
On Friday morning, Cuomo called Cruz’s comments “were highly offensive to New Yorkers, I think they were highly offensive to all Americans.”
“To say we’re about money and media, it’s exactly the opposite of what New York is about and this country is about,” Cuomo told 1010 WINS on Friday. “I think he owes New Yorkers an apology, not that we want it or we would accept it.”
“In 30 seconds, the man not only criticized New York and our 18 million people, but it was anti-gay, it was anti-woman, and it was so antithetical to what this country is all about,” Cuomo told WCBS 880.
Cuomo was further infuriated after Cruz sent the email asking New Yorkers to pony up for his campaign a short time after the debate.
“I’m counting on you, New York,” Cruz said in the email. “Can I ask you to make an urgent gift of at least $25, or if you can afford more, $100 or even $500?”
Cuomo said Cruz was trying to divide people and highlight differences.
“I am sure he’s going to send back all the donations that he received, and I’m sure he won’t accept any donations from New York,” Cuomo said sarcastically.
De Blasio also expressed outrage, saying, “I am disgusted at the insult that Ted Cruz threw at this city and its people” and said he was “for once in agreement with Donald Trump.”
“The bottom line is, he doesn’t understand in the least New York values,” de Blasio told reporters, including 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa. “I think it was right for Donald Trump to defend New York City and to talk about the heroic actions of the people of the city after 9/11.”
The mayor said he too thinks Cruz “owes the people of New York City an apology.”
“I also find it very ironic that Ted Cruz does not hesitate to come to New York City to raise millions of dollars,” he said. “So he has no trouble taking money from New York City but he’s quick to insult our people and our values and I think it’s really going to backfire on him.”
In a statement, Long Island Rep. Peter King, a Republican, told Cruz to “Go back under a rock.”
“Memo to Ted Cruz: New York Values are the heroes of 9/11; the cops who fight terror; and the people you ask for campaign donations,” he said.
King took particular issue with Cruz’s solicitation for donations from New Yorkers.
“Ted Cruz, by attacking New York and asking for money from New York, shows what a hypocrite he is,” Rep. King said. “Secondly and most importantly, anyone from New York who gives Ted Cruz any money at all should have their head examined.”
King added that Cruz has plenty of New York connections himself.
“What it is about New York he doesn’t like, I don’t know,” King said. “His wife works for a major investment bank in New York and he got a million-dollar loan from them. He certainly comes to New York to raise money.”
And former Republican Mayor Rudy Giuliani said Cruz’s comments were “insulting” and “divisive.”
“I thought Donald Trump did an excellent job of defending New York. I was very proud of him and I thought, as a result of that, he won the debate,” Giuliani told 1010 WINS. “I think he made a very big mistake also because I think he’s reading the American public wrong. I think people in America love New York, they love to come to New York — it’s the most visited city in the United States.”
CBS News Political Director and “Face the Nation” host John Dickerson said he does not think Cruz took a risk by taking on Trump this way, CBS2’s Andrea Grymes reported.
“When Ted Cruz talks about ‘New York values,’ he’s talking to the Evangelicals who are voting in Iowa and saying, ‘he’s not one of you’ and that’s quite effective to sew those kinds of seeds of doubt,” he said.
But when asked if he should cut Cruz any slack for looking for something to gain traction with Iowa voters, Cuomo had a strong response.
“I don’t cut anyone slack who does things for political expediency that are bad for the body politic,” he told WCBS 880. “I understand that hate can be a powerful political tool, but hate is hate and hate is negative and you’re trying to spread fear and division, and politics to me is the exact opposite.”
Cuomo said all New Yorkers should be against the GOP candidate’s comments.
“If Mr. Cruz had any conscience and represented the values that he would need to govern he would stand up today and say ‘I made a mistake in criticizing New York and I take it back,'” Cuomo said. “I doubt he’ll do it, not that we need it, not that it would mean all that much, but if he really thinks he is even close to the business of being able to govern that’s what he would do.”
Other New Yorkers had lots to say about Cruz’s comments.
“He’s an idiot,” Upper West Side resident Peter Salwen said. “True American values come from New York.”
“I think New York has as great a values as any other state,” said Manhattan resident Terrance Scott.
“This is a great city, we’re great we’re wonderful here,” another man told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell.
But Cruz does have some Big Apple defenders.
“I don’t like how they turn things around and make it sound like he’s talking about New Yorkers are horrible people,” said Upper West Side resident Renee Revis. “Of course New York is mostly Democrat, right? Democrats have mostly liberal values, right? That’s just the way it is. It’s not a good or bad statement.”
Many also took to Twitter and expressed their feelings about Cruz, Cuomo and New York values.
Speaking Friday on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Trump called Cruz’s conduct at the debate “strident” and “disgraceful” and said he “hurt himself.”
According to the most recent filings, Cruz’s campaign has taken in only about $487,000 from New York contributors through Sept. 30, the Associated Press reported.
But the AP reported that Robert Mercer, a Wall Street hedge fund mogul, contributed $11 million to a super PAC that supports Cruz last April.