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Donald Trump applauds NYPD, FDNY at rally on Long Island

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BETHPAGE, N.Y. — Donald Trump invoked the heroism of New York City police and firefighters during the 9/11 attacks to more than 15,000 people at a rally on Long Island Wednesday night.

"It is so great to be back home!" Trump posted to Twitter Wednesday afternoon. "Looking forward to a great rally tonight in Bethpage, Long Island."

Thousands gathered at Grumman Studio in Bethpage to hear the GOP front-runner speak for the first time in his home state.

Trump brought up Ted Cruz's line from a debate earlier this year in which he criticized "New York values." Trump said Cruz said it "with scorn on his face" and "with hatred."

"He tried to lecture me on New York values, like we're no good," said Trump.

Trump said he couldn't believe that anyone would question the heroism of the city's uniformed officers and construction workers during the aftermath of the 2001 attacks that toppled the World Trade Center.

Cruz was not the only target of Trump's attacks during the raucous Bethpage rally. He called out "How bad Hillary so bad. It will be fun! It will be fun!"

The GOP front-runner said he would "beat Hillary so badly" in the general election.

Trump is coming off of a defeat in Wisconsin where Texas Sen. Ted Cruz won 36 convention delegates. Cruz held a rally in the Bronx Wednesday.

New Yorkers will head to the polls on April 19.

A Monmouth University poll shows that 52 percent of likely Republican voters support Trump. The margin suggests that he could win nearly every delegate in New York. There are 95 delegates up for grabs in New York State.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.