WASHINGTON — Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas is getting a taste of the “New York values” he derided in Iowa as Republicans turn to the next big presidential contest in the home state of front-runner Donald Trump.
The New York billionaire lost the Wisconsin Republican primary on Tuesday to Cruz and is seeking to rebound in New York on April 19. He won the backing Thursday of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who was irked by Cruz’s values comments.
“It’s New York City. We’re family. I can make fun of New York but you can’t,” Giuliani, who led the city through the trauma of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, told the New York Post.
“I support Trump. I’m gonna vote for Trump,” he said.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, running third in the Republican race, chimed in with an ad called “Values,” part of a seven-figure ad buy in New York and Pennsylvania, which votes on April 26.
“New Yorkers aren’t stupid and they certainly won’t fall for Ted Cruz’s lame soliloquies and flattery after he slammed their values,” said Kasich spokeswoman Connie Wehrkamp.
Trump, under pressure to show a more presidential image, elevated a top adviser Thursday and said he planned to hire additional staff to prepare for the possibility of a long fight for the Republican nomination.
He announced that he has assigned all functions related to the nomination process to veteran political operative Paul Manafort, who was hired to manage the process of corralling delegates who will pick the nominee.
“The nomination process has reached a point that requires someone familiar with the complexities involved in the final stages,” Trump said.
He turned on Cruz Wednesday night during his first rally in New York since the double-digit loss in Wisconsin.
“I’ve got this guy standing over there, looking at me, talking about New York values with scorn in his face, with hatred, with hatred of New York,” Trump said, drawing a chorus of boos.
Cruz credited his Feb. 1 Iowa caucuses victory in part to his attacks on Trump’s “New York values.” He told ABC on Thursday the phrase referred to the state’s liberal Democrats.
Cruz took another hit in the Bronx, where a group of high school students protesting his stance on immigration threatened a walkout if their principal did not cancel his appearance.
“Most of us are immigrants or come from immigrant backgrounds. Ted Cruz goes against everything our school stands for,” Destiny Domeneck, 16, told the New York Daily News.
School authorities complied, the newspaper reported on Thursday.
On the Democratic side of the race, former President Bill Clinton on Thursday faced down protesters angry at the impact his crime reforms of 20 years ago have had on black Americans and defended the record of Hillary Clinton, his wife, who is relying on the support of black voters in her quest for the presidency.
The former president spent more than 10 minutes confronting the protesters at a campaign rally in Philadelphia for his wife over criticisms that a 1994 crime bill he approved while president led to a surge in the imprisonment of black people.
The Democratic race has become increasingly heated as Hillary Clinton, stung by a string of losses in state contests, has traded barbs with her rival for the party’s nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, over who is better prepared for the White House.
In Philadelphia, several protesters heckled the former president midspeech and held up signs, including one that read “CLINTON Crime Bill Destroyed Our Communities.”
Video footage of Hillary Clinton defending the reforms in 1994 has been widely circulated during the campaign by activists in the Black Lives Matter protest movement. In the footage she calls young people in gangs “superpredators” who need to “be brought to heel.” Hillary Clinton, 68, who also has faced protesters upset by her remarks, in February said she regretted her language.
Bill Clinton, 69, on Thursday defended her 1994 remarks, which protesters say were racially insensitive, and suggested the protesters’ anger was misplaced.
“I don’t know how you would characterize the gang leaders who got 13-year-old kids hopped on crack and sent them out on the street to murder other African-American children,” he said, shaking his finger at a heckler as Clinton supporters cheered, according to video of the event. “Maybe you thought they were good citizens. She (Hillary Clinton) didn’t.”
“You are defending the people who kill the lives you say matter,” he told a protester. “Tell the truth.”
Hillary Clinton promised to end “mass incarceration” in her first major speech of her campaign last year. She has won the support of the majority of black voters in every state nominating contest so far, often by a landslide.
Spokesmen for the campaign and Bill Clinton did not immediately respond on Thursday to a request for comment.
His remarks on Thursday drew criticism online. Some saw him as dismissive of the Black Lives Matter movement, a national outgrowth of anger over a string of encounters in which police officers killed unarmed black people.
Johnetta Elzie, a prominent civil-rights activist, wrote online that Clinton “can’t handle being confronted by his own record.”
Earlier in Philadelphia, Sanders assailed Clinton as unqualified to be president.
“Are you qualified to be president of the United States when you’re raising millions of dollars from Wall Street, an entity whose greed, recklessness and illegal behavior helped destroy our economy?” Sanders said at a news conference.
Clinton this week sharply questioned Sanders’ credentials and ability to carry out a campaign pledge to break up the big banks.
Spokesmen for Clinton noted that she never said the word “unqualified” when she questioned his preparedness for the presidency, but they declined to say whether she believes in that characterization.
Clinton aimed for a more magnanimous tone than her aides when speaking to reporters during a subway ride in New York City.
“I don’t know why he’s saying that,” she said of Sanders’ calling her unqualified. “But I will take Bernie Sanders over Ted Cruz or Donald Trump anytime,” she said of the two leading candidates for the Republican presidential nomination.