THE BRONX - Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, of Texas, brought his campaign to the Bronx Wednesday.
Cruz attended a meet-and-greet at Sabrosura 2 Restaurant on Westchester Avenue in Soundview, hosted by Bronx state Sen. Ruben Diaz, a Democrat.
Diaz says he's happy that someone is paying attention to Bronx voters.
"They're all taken for granted," Diaz says. "Democrats take it for granted. Republicans take it for granted. No one pays attention to us. This is the first time."
But not everyone was as welcoming of the Republican senator. Moments into the event, police escorted a protester out the door.
The protester, a Bronx resident identified as Rebel Diaz, screamed out against the candidate just minutes after Cruz appeared at the venue.
"How are you going to come to the South Bronx with an anti-immigrant stance?" Diaz asked.
He also turned toward the crowd and shouted, "We're the South Bronx, the poorest congressional district in the United States, and you guys are just standing here? Ask questions!"
After the interruption, Cruz said he would fight for the working immigrant class here in the Bronx. He also backtracked on comments he made two years ago comparing the relationship between Manhattan and the Bronx to that of Texas and Mexico.
"Oh look, it was called a joke, and a lot of Democratic politicians decided to throw a fit because they couldn't crack a joke," Cruz said. "Listen, the Bronx is wonderful -- it's a melting pot of who we are as a nation."
Cruz also told News 12 that he supports the borough and the city.
"I'm fighting for the working men and women of the Bronx, of New York and of the entire country," he said.
The candidate also had to defend a comment he made against rival Donald Trump, accusing him of having "New York values" in a negative way.
Cruz defined them as liberal values, not necessarily values espoused by all New Yorkers.
"It is the values of the liberal Democratic New York politicians that have been hammering the people of New York for a long time," Cruz said. "They're the values that led, for example, Mayor Bill de Blasio -- one of the first things he did getting elected mayor was to try and shut down charter schools in Harlem."