Donald Trump dug in further Saturday to defend his home state of New York
Cruz doubled down on his criticism of "New York values" this week
Donald Trump dug in further Saturday to defend his home state of New York, accusing Ted Cruz of having “hatred” for the Empire State and saying his Republican rival would never help New York as president.
Cruz doubled down on his criticism of “New York values” this week while campaigning in the state that holds its primary on April 19. He told CNN’s Dana Bash that he was referring to “the liberal values of Democratic politicians who have been hammering the people of New York for decades.”
But Trump, during a phone interview Saturday night on Fox News’ “Justice with Judge Jeanine,” brushed off Cruz’s argument as nothing but “spin.”
“He made that up,” Trump said, before recalling when Cruz criticized “New York values” at a debate in January.
“When you looked at his face during the debate, he was talking about New York values as though he hates New Yorkers, which is his real feeling,” Trump continued. “And if he ever got in, he would give nothing to New York. He would never help New York.”
Trump said states and cities “need help from the federal government” and “all sorts of money for all sorts of projects,” but suggested New York would be out of luck under a Cruz presidency because Cruz “has hatred for New York.”
“I just don’t think New Yorkers are going to fall for it,” Trump said.
One of the reasons Trump visited the 9/11 Memorial Museum earlier on Saturday, Trump said, was to spotlight his argument against Cruz’s comments, saying that New York values are reflected in the first responders who went up into the World Trade Center.
“I just felt like doing it because I heard him disparaging New York,” Trump said. “I’d seen it earlier, when it (the memorial museum) was under very early construction, and I wanted to see how it came out. They’ve done an amazing job.”
Recent polls show Trump sitting comfortably above 50% in New York against Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich. The state, which awards a coveted 95 delegates, is in hot contention as Trump tries to inch closer to the 1,237 delegates needed to secure the nomination.
Cruz took some heat from New Yorkers over his comments this week. The New York Daily News’ cover on Thursday showed a picture of the Texas senator next to giant letters: “Take The F U Train, Ted!” Meanwhile, Geraldo Rivera argued on Fox News that Cruz’s comments were anti-Semitic.
The week ended with Cruz seeing some people rally to his defense. At a meeting for the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas, the audience gave Cruz a standing ovation after one attendee defended the candidate.
“On behalf of my partner Fred Zinnemann, who’s the chairman of the U.S. Holocaust Museum, I just want to be on record as saying we don’t think you have anti-Semitic bone in your body, and on top of that, we think you’re one of the best friends we’ve ever had in the Senate,” the man said.
CNN’s Betsy Klein contributed to this report.