COLUMBIA, S.C. — Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz apologized in the midst of days of coverage over his comments about "New York values" — but not because he's sorry about what he said.
"Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bill de Blasio, and Andrew Cuomo have all demanded an apology, and I’m happy to apologize," Cruz said. "I apologize to the millions of New Yorkers who have been let down by liberal politicians in that state."
Speaking to reporters after a campaign event here on Friday in a brief press availability in which he took no follow-up questions, Cruz had been asked if he would apologize for the "New York values" jabs as New York City's mayor, de Blasio, and New York's governor, Cuomo, have called him in to do.
Cruz then reeled off a list of New York-specific policy complaints in the form of apologies, apologizing to New Yorkers for Cuomo's fracking ban, to small businesses "driven out of New York City by crushing taxes and regulations," to "all of the African-American children who Mayor de Blasio tried to throw out of their charter schools that were providing a lifeline to the American dream," and "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."
"I apologize to all the pro-life and pro-marriage and pro-Second Amendment New Yorkers who are told by Gov. Cuomo that they have no place in New York because that’s not who New Yorkers are," Cruz said.
Cruz has been criticized for his remarks about Donald Trump having "New York values," which have been interpreted as innuendo for various things. "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 said during Thursday night's debate in South Carolina.
Trump responded with a stirring description of New Yorkers' resilience after 9/11, for which Cruz had no response other than applause.
His comments on Friday appear to be a way to demarcate criticism of New York politics from criticism of New Yorkers in general, in the wake of Trump's response to him on Thursday.