A Republican primary is going on here in New York, and a Democratic one too — but I’m concerned with the Republican primary. Especially this business of “New York values.” In January, Ted Cruz knocked Donald Trump for having “New York values.” This gibe is supposed to be haunting Cruz now, and I suppose it is — but lemme ’splain.
Back in 1999, Trump gave an interview to Meet the Press. Tim Russert. He was actually there, Trump was. They didn’t allow him to phone in his interviews at that point.
In due course, Russert asked Trump his views on some “social issues.” What about gay marriage? Trump answered locally. I mean, he went quickly to geography: “I live in New York City” (where “there’s a tremendous movement on”).
He was then asked about gays in the military. “Hey, I lived in New York City and Manhattan all my life, okay? So, you know, my views are a little bit different than if I lived in Iowa, perhaps.”
Trump could have named any of the other 49 states. But he named Iowa — the very state in which he and Cruz were competing for votes, when Cruz knocked him for “New York values.”
You think the Cruz campaign used the Meet the Press interview? In Iowa? Well, of course they did! Who wouldn’t have?
Russert asked Trump about partial-birth abortion — not abortion in general, but partial-birth abortion, specifically: clear-cut, no-bones-about-it infanticide.
Trump said, “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.”
Okay, let me talk about some New York pols. The governor is Andrew Cuomo, Mario’s son. He has said, quite explicitly, that there’s no room in New York — not just in the city but in the entire state! — for pro-lifers, Second Amendment types, etc.
Trump gave him 84 grand.
Bill de Blasio is the mayor of the city, and Trump once had warm words for him. Remember, de Blasio is a man who’s so left-wing, he chose to spend his honeymoon in Cuba, the Castros’ island prison. He was in his mid-30s at the time.
You know why Trump praised him? I think he gave the answer when he remarked of de Blasio, “He actually said some very nice things about me at a recent cocktail party, I was told by somebody, and I thought that was very nice.”
Trump’s relationship with Hillary Clinton is pretty well-known. He has praised her to the skies. He has donated to her. Evidently, it was important to him that she attend his wedding, which she did.
Let me get very, very rhetorical here: Shouldn’t the GOP have a nominee who has not been an enthusiast for Hillary Clinton, and a donor to her? Shouldn’t Hillary have, like, an opponent?
Can you imagine the Democrats’ TV ads, showing Trump in full-throated praise of their nominee?
I grant you, “New York values” is awkward for Ted Cruz. In New York. But Cruz is talking to Republicans here — in the primary. And we know damn well what he meant. If Ted is the nominee, I would not count on his winning New York in the fall. And it is unlikely he’ll win the primary this month.
But, you know? I would not bet against him. Your money, maybe, but not mine. Guy finds a way to get his points across. And to get votes.