New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo surprised an audience Wednesday when he trashed America as a country that "was never that great."
The Democrat said, "We're not going to make America great again - it was never that great." The crowd at the event was shocked, reacting with surprised gasps, and the blowback then escalated to social media.
While Cuomo claimed that President Trump wants to return to a period of greater sexism, racism and intolerance toward immigrants, his spokeswoman later tried to explain that the governor meant American greatness won't be realized until every man, woman and child has full equality, accusing President Trump's slogan "Make America Great Again" of being code for going back in time.
President Trump reacted to Cuomo's comment in a tweet saying: "WE'RE NOT GOING TO MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, IT WAS NEVER THAT GREAT." Can you believe this is the Governor of the Highest Taxed State in the U.S., Andrew Cuomo, having a total meltdown!
"WE'RE NOT GOING TO MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, IT WAS NEVER THAT GREAT." Can you believe this is the Governor of the Highest Taxed State in the U.S., Andrew Cuomo, having a total meltdown!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 16, 2018
Other Republicans quickly criticized Cuomo's remark.
The minority leader of the New York state Assembly, Republican Brian Kolb, tweeted that Cuomo's remark was "inexcusable & reprehensible."
You can dislike the President. You can disagree with his policies. You can mock his slogans. But for Andrew Cuomo to say America "was never that great" is inexcusable & reprehensible. America is the greatest country in the world & an apology is in order. https://t.co/v77RdEcfzN
— Brian Kolb (@GOPLdrBrianKolb) August 15, 2018
And the Republican running to win the New York governorship this fall had a few words to say as well.
"America, with its imperfections, has always been great. Our people, our principles and our promises have been a beacon of light to the world for 242 years and counting," said Marc Molinaro, the executive of Dutchess County. "Mr. Cuomo owes the nation an apology. He should be ashamed of himself."
Before the fall election, Cuomo faces a primary challenge next month from the Left from actress Cynthia Nixon as he seeks a third term as governor.
Cuomo is also considered a potential White House contender in 2020.