Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump speaks with the moderators as Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, looks on during the Fox Business Network Republican presidential debate at the North Charleston Coliseum, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016, in North Charleston, S.C.

Chuck Burton | AP Photo

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Last night during the GOP Debate, Ted Cruz made the following comments about New York values:

Cruz: “I think most people know exactly what New York values are.” Loud Applause.

Maria Bartiromo: “I’m from New York and I don’t.”

Cruz: “You’re from New York, so you might not.” Lots of cheering and laughter.

“But I promise you in the state of South Carolina, they do.” Loud Applause.

“And 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, are pro-abortion, or pro-gay marriage, focus around the money and the media. And I guess I can frame it another way, not a lot of conservatives come out of Manhattan, I’m just saying.” Laughter and applause.

Clearly, for anyone actually listening to what Cruz said, he was not attacking individual New Yorkers in a personal way. If you still think so, I don’t know what part of “there are many wonderful working men and women in the state of New York” you don’t understand. But, I guess people are going to exploit anything if it means attacking a candidate they didn’t like already.

That’s certainly what Donald Trump did. Exploitation. Manipulation. He took the opportunity to make Cruz’s comment personal and played the 9/11 card,; exploiting the emotions of New Yorkers and the country by reminding everyone of how New York rose above the devastating attacks on 911.

I just want to point out, for the record, that we all felt that pain. September 11th was an attack not just on New York, but on America. We had attacks in other parts of the country as well, in DC, and in Pennsylvania where Flight 93 went down in heroic fashion.

We all grieve that loss—and we all came together, as a nation. New York was led by Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and his strong leadership made him the nation’s mayor.

But, Giuliani is no longer the mayor of New York. Liberal Mayor Bill de Blasio is. Can anyone really dispute Cruz’s claim that New York values—as represented in its politics—are socially liberal? This was the state that elected Hillary Clinton as its senator. It’s also listed as the 10th most liberal state in the nation according to Gallup.

But we don’t even need to go into all that or list the many liberal policies that plague New York. We need go no further than Donald Trump himself. Here, he explains better than anyone what New York values are, echoing Cruz’s exact words:

To the question do you think homosexuals should get married:

Trump: “It’s not something I’ve given a lot of thought to. I live in New York City, and there’s a tremendous movement on to have and allow gay marriages, something that is too premature for me to comment on.”

Second question: “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, ok, so my views are a little different than if I lived in Iowa perhaps, but it’s not something that would disturb me.”

Third question: “Partial birth abortion. The eliminating of abortion in the third trimester. Big issue in Washington. Would President Trump ban partial birth abortion?" 

Trump: “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 worked and everything else in New York City.”

Fourth question: “So you would not ban it?”

“No, I am pro-choice in every respect.”

Not once, not twice, but, count ‘em, three times, Trump pointed to his New York City background as the basis of his socially liberal values. I mean, of course he’s for partial birth abortion, because, you know, he’s from New York City!

The fact is, just as Trump said repeatedly, New York City is not like the rest of the country. 

But during the GOP debate, Trump didn’t want to admit to the facts, so he twisted Cruz’s comment around to be an attack, not on him and his liberal views or those of New York (and, yes, just as Cruz said, everyone knows to be socially liberal), but on the good people of New York, who are caring, loving, supportive individuals. And he used the tragedy of 9/11 as a prop to counter Cruz’s legitimate attack.

This doesn’t “transcend politics” like some have said. This doesn’t make Trump some kind of hero. Clever, yes. Politically, it is savvy and slick—just like Bill Clinton with his diversions and lies (and was also praised by the media for it). But it’s not sincere. It’s not praiseworthy. It’s not even relevant.

The populist movement that has lifted both Trump and Cruz is not just about opposing the Establishment in D.C.

The fact is, just as Trump said repeatedly, New York City is not like the rest of the country. Its socially liberal agenda has been a scourge on our nation as it has oozed out of its infected pockets into the rest of the country through the media. Thanks but no thanks. We’ve had enough of morally corrupt policies and the materialism of northeast liberalism.

The populist movement that has lifted both Trump and Cruz is not just about opposing the Establishment in D.C. It’s also about conservative values. It’s about flyover country feeling sick and tired of being dictated to by LA and NY. For too long, New York and Hollywood and D.C. have acted as if they are the only ones who exist in America. They’re nothing but a Devil’s Triangle of corruption, liberalism, and condescension—and the rest of America is being sucked into it.

As a Southerner, I have to sit back and just laugh at all the New Yorkers whining about being stereotyped by Cruz, as if he was attacking each of them anyway. “How dare Cruz say such terrible things about us,” they’ve been furiously tweeting! “Trump is right, just look at 911! We’re awesome people” they’re crying. (Sad that they have to point to something that happened 15 years ago to make a case for being so great.)

Never mind, and I repeat, that Cruz said there are many wonderful people in New York. Yet, they haven’t listened. They’re offended, and the torches are being fired up to burn Cruz at the stake. This vitriolic and overly defensive reaction to Cruz on the basis that he has stereotyped New Yorkers is laughable and painfully hypocritical.

That’s because the South or anyone who doesn’t come from some slick-city background (ahem, Sarah Palin) knows what it’s like to be stereotyped. How often are we depicted in the media and by politicians as being stupid, backward, inbred, gun-toting, religion-preaching, pitchfork-wielding bitter clingers who can barely be trusted to vote?

Sorry, New Yorkers, but this Southerner has no sympathy for you. We’ve been denigrated by you for too long. Welcome to the fray. Stop your whining. Look in the mirror, and admit that Donald Trump is right. New York isn’t Iowa, and many voters today don’t want New York. They want someone who is going to represent them and their values—conservative values that are rooted in love of country, love of our faith, love of our families, and love of our Constitution.

On a final note, for those who think Cruz will be hurt by his comment. Those most offended are people who weren’t going to vote for him anyway. Socially liberal New Yorkers are never going to support the most conservative guy in the race. And while Trump has gained in the polls after the debate, as he always does, Cruz has gained as well. But more importantly, in a one-on-one race between the two candidates, Cruz beats Trump 51 to 43 percent. Just saying.

D.C. McAllister is a journalist based in Charlotte, North Carolina. She is a guest contributor to Conservative Review and a senior Contributor to The Federalist. Follow her on Twitter @McAllisterDen.