U.S. Reps. Carolyn Maloney, D-Manhattan, and Hakeem Jeffries, D-Brooklyn, held a telephone conference Tuesday morning speaking out against the New York Republican Party's decision to invite Texas Sen. Ted Cruz to their annual state dinner on Wednesday.
Cruz is well known for his role in delaying the aid to Hurricane Sandy victims by 91 days after saying the aid was "wasteful spending." Cruz voted against the proposed aid that now has been approved and will help victims of Sandy to rebuild following the devastation.
Sen. Ted Cruz
"I really do not believe that someone who thought the critical aid was quote 'wasteful spending' which has already been too long delayed, would be invited by New York republicans to talk at their state dinner," Maloney said during the phone conference. "This is someone who refused to stand with New Yorkers in one of our hours of greatest need."
Cruz is noted on the official invitation for the state dinner as being a "featured guest" and it is noted underneath his name that he is "not asking for funds or donations."
Jeffries, a former state assemblyman, noted in the call that the Republican Party is playing "political footsie" with Cruz, who he calls an extremist.
"The constituents that I represent are still trying to recover as of this day … they are all still trying to rebuild their lives. That's why it is an insult to the hard working New Yorkers still recovering … that the New York state Republican party would bring in Ted Cruz of all people," Jeffries said.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries
Maloney and Jeffries said at the end of their conference call that they are asking Congressman Michael Grimm, R-Staten Island, and other New York Republicans to stand up against the decision to feature Cruz and "condemn the New York Republican party for asking Ted Cruz to headline their state dinner."
"He is the wrong person at the wrong time for the Republican party to highlight as a speaker," Jeffries said.
David Laska, the director of communications for the New York State Republican Party, criticized Maloney and Jeffries for their own "hypocrisy" and noted that Cruz supported the idea of financial aid for Sandy victims, but he opposed the other spending items included in the bill that were unrelated to disaster relief.
"Senator Cruz is on record with his support for Sandy Aid. Carolyn Maloney and Hakeem Jeffries should be asking Harry Reid why he wouldn't let a hurricane relief package reach the Senate floor without stuffing it full of unrelated pork spending," Laska said.
"If Democrats fought against sexual abuse with the same vitriol with which they attack minority Republicans, Sheldon Silver would be gone by now. Carolyn Maloney stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Silver at the DNC, and later issued a statement praising Silver for acting 'decisively' with regards to Vito Lopez' sexual abuse of female staff members, when the facts show that Silver used taxpayer money to silence Vito Lopez' victims," he continued.
"If Carolyn Maloney wants to talk about hypocrisy, we suggest she begin by giving back the 'Fearless Trailblazer' award she received from the Feminist Majority Foundation last year," Laska said.