New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo set off a firestorm Wednesday when he took direct aim at President Donald Trump and his “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan.
“We’re not going to Make America Great Again,” Cuomo said in Manhattan. “It was never that great. We have not reached greatness. We will reach greatness when every American is fully engaged.”
Republicans quickly seized on the comment, suggesting that Cuomo’s remark was offensive and unpatriotic.
New York Republican Committee Chairman Ed Cox said all Democrats should condemn Cuomo’s comment.
“It’s shocking that Andrew Cuomo would make such an offensive remark that insults the people of this country, the ideals upon which she was founded and the countless men and women who have fought and died to protect her,” Cox said.
Marc Molinaro, the GOP candidate for governor, said Cuomo should be ashamed of himself and owes the nation an apology.
Please Retweet: pic.twitter.com/Imm2Xylb3u
— Marc Molinaro (@marcmolinaro) August 15, 2018
After seeing the backlash, Cuomo spokeswoman Dani Lever issued a statement expanding on the governor’s remarks.
“Governor Cuomo disagrees with the president,” Lever said. “The governor believes America is great and that her full greatness will be fully realized when every man, woman, and child has full equality. America has not yet reached its maximum potential.”
Lever added, “When the president speaks about making America great again — going back in time — he ignores the pain so many endured and that we suffered from slavery, discrimination, segregation, sexism and marginalized women’s contributions.”
Cuomo may have picked a fight he can’t win. A Washington Post reporter pointed out that a poll taken in 2016 shows only a small percentage of Americans agree with the idea the governor expressed Wednesday.
A 2016 poll showed just 7% of Americans agreed with the idea Cuomo just put forward: That America has never been greathttps://t.co/rHOCWIwI8L
— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) August 15, 2018
New York Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long joined Trump supporters who called Cuomo’s comment “shameful.”
“Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has benefited from being born in America, unlike thousands who have emigrated to be part of our great nation, has succumbed to the depths of dark cynicism when he states that America was never that great,” Long said in a statement.
Cuomo’s critics on the left were mostly silent about his comments. The governor faces Cynthia Nixon in a Sept. 13 Democratic primary. Nixon stuck to other issues on Wednesday, tweeting about criminal justice reform and affordable housing.