Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump defended New York values during a speech in the state capital Albany ahead of its primary on 19 April. He was speaking in response to statements by his rival Ted Cruz who has repeatedly slammed what he calls "New York values", even crediting his 1 February Iowa caucus victory in part to his attacks on them. The Texas senator told a US network last week that the phrase referred to the state's liberal Democrats.

In his defence of his home state, Trump invoked 9/11, saying: "We have the greatest values, nobody had values like us, and the country loves New York, and when we took the worst attack in the history of our nation and we took that attack and we were strong and we were sharp and we were loving and we had heart and we rebuilt downtown Manhattan – thousands and thousands of people were killed and the police departments and the fire departments and everybody were so amazing. That's what New York values really is and really represents."

The Republican frontrunner also lashed out once again at the party's selection rules after rival Ted Cruz swept all of Colorado's 34 delegates over the weekend. After calling the system "rigged" during a Fox News appearance earlier in the day, Trump reiterated his criticism during the rally, telling voters it was a "rigged, dirty and disgusting system".

"I am hundreds of delegates ahead, but the system, folks, is rigged," Trump said. "It's a dirty system and only a non-politician would say it, because I don't care. Look if it doesn't happen – I am here for one reason – make America great again. That's the only reason."

Trump has topped the national polls throughout the race for the Republican nomination, and has won more delegates than any other Republican so far. A Reuters/Ipsos online poll from 4-8 April showed that 42 percent of Republicans support Trump, compared with 32 percent for Cruz and 20 percent for Ohio governor John Kasich.

Cruz and Kasich have both said their paths to victory rely on winning at least enough votes to block an outright win for Trump and force a decision at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.