[guest post by Dana]
Last night at the debate, Ted Cruz caused a firestorm when he made this sound observation:
“Listen, 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.”
Donald Trump bristled and invoked 9/11 to give a passionate defense of New York:
“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.
But the funny thing is, during an interview with Tim Russert on Meet the Press in 1999, Trump himself reinforced Cruz’s observations:
RUSSERT: Do you think gays should be allowed to be married?
TRUMP: It’s something I haven’t given lots of thought to. I live in New York City, there is a tremendous movement on to have and allow gay marriage. It’s just something that is too premature for me to comment on.
RUSSERT: How about gays serving in the military?
TRUMP: It would not disturb me. I mean, hey, I lived in New York City and Manhattan all my life, so my views are a little bit different than if I lived in Iowa, perhaps…
Then there was this exchange:
RUSSERT: Partial birth abortion. Eliminating of abortion in the third trimester. Big issue in Washington. Would President Trump ban partial birth abortion?
TRUMP: Well, look, I’m very pro-choice…and again, it may be a little bit of a New York background, because there is some different attitude in different parts of the country, and you know, I was raised in New York, and grew up and work and everything else in New York City.
RUSSERT: But you would not ban it.
TRUMP: No…I am pro-choice in every respect as far as it goes, but I just hate it.
The next political ad for the Cruz campaign just wrote itself.
Today Ted Cruz “apologized”:
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) January 16, 2016
“I apologize to the hard working men and women of the state of New York who’ve been denied jobs because Gov. Cuomo won’t allow fracking,” Cruz continued. “I apologize to all the pro-life and pro-marriage and 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. I apologize to all of the small businesses who’ve been driven out of New York City by crushing taxes and regulations.
“I apologize to all of the African-American children who Mayor de Blasio tried to throw out of their charter schools instead of providing a lifeline at the American dream. And 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 of blue.”
Further, Cruz’s observation about New York values certainly doesn’t appear to have hurt him with New York GOP voters:
UPDATE BY PATTERICO: I think Cruz stumbled with his answer. It should have been more nuanced and focused, and he should have seen the 9/11 response coming and dealt with that in his initial remarks. You don’t just write off a huge chunk of millions of people. In a way, that was Mitt Romney’s problem with his 47% comment. Cruz is running to be president of all America. He needs to keep that in mind.