He may be riding a high after his win in Wisconsin, but New Yorkers are ready to bring Texas Sen. Ted Cruz back to reality.
The Republican presidential candidate who has criticized Donald Trump for his “New York values,” spent Wednesday campaigning in the Bronx, a borough of New York City known for its largely Hispanic and black population. But the day didn’t go as planned.
At one campaign stop, protesters and hecklers interrupted Cruz’s stump speech and approached him on the street, yelling that Cruz has “no business in the Bronx.” And later in the day, the Texas senator was forced to cancel a visit to a Bronx high school after students planned a walk out.
The U.S. Census Bureau considers the Bronx to be the most diverse area in the country — more than 53 percent of the population is of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin. Those diverse residents made it clear on Wednesday that they are not pleased with Cruz’s plans to deport millions of people including children and to hire Trump to build a Mexican border wall, despite the senator’s upbringing by an immigrant father.
One protester, Rodrigo Venegas, interrupted Cruz’s event to call him a “right-wing bigot.”
“You’re running on an anti-immigrant platform, and you’re speaking in the Bronx,” Venegas told Cruz. “You should not be here.”
Bronx resident Edna Ferrer, a 57-year-old hairstylist, stood outside the event with other New Yorkers to challenge Cruz supporters.
“Just because he has a Hispanic last name does not mean he’s Hispanic,” Ferrer told the New York Daily News. “His mind is white.”
The protesters demanded even more media attention, given the poor turn-out at Cruz’s event. Only about a dozen voters showed up to hear him speak with state Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr., a conservative Christian minister, at a Chinese-Dominican restaurant. And two of them were thrown out after protesting.
Cruz’s troubles in New York continued later Wednesday, when he was scheduled to visit Bronx Lighthouse College Preparatory. In advance of the event, students at the charter school wrote a letter to the principal, calling Cruz “misogynistic, homophobic, and racist.”
Read the letter:
“We told her if he came here, we would schedule a walkout,” 16-year-old Destiny Domeneck told the Daily News. “Most of us are immigrants or come from immigrant backgrounds. Ted Cruz goes against everything our school stands for.”
The students were successful. “Your points are eloquently argued — in fact, so eloquently argued that upon reading your email, Khori Whittaker, the CEO of Lighthouse Academies has agreed to cancel the visit,” the principal replied.
Despite his poor reception in the Bronx, Cruz did not seem eager to back away from his “New York values” remark. In fact, he disparaged New Yorkers again, to their faces, during his campaign event in the Bronx.
“Let’s be clear,” he said during the Bronx event. “The people of New York know what those values are, the values of liberal Democratic politicians like Andrew Cuomo, like Anthony Weiner, like Eliot Spitzer, like Charlie Rangel, all of whom Donald Trump has supported, given tens of thousands of dollars to throughout the years.”
Before that campaign stop, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. — the son of the state senator who appeared alongside Cruz at the event — slammed Cruz’s appearance in the borough.
“Ted Cruz is a hypocrite,” Diaz Jr. said during a press conference organized by the Hillary Clinton campaign. “He not only offended New Yorkers, he offended Bronxites, and now he’s here today in New York and in the Bronx looking for money and votes. We in the Bronx know how offensive he’s been. We know the truth about our borough.”