During a speech in New York City on Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said America was “never that great” while making a point on women’s equality. (Governor’s Office)
Jon Campbell, email@example.com
ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo was under siege by his political opponents Thursday after he said a day earlier that America “was never that great” as he criticized President Donald Trump in a speech.
Cuomo’s remarks made national headlines and gave his Republican foes an opportunity to blast his patriotism and label him a leftist Democrat out of touch with the country.
The statement led to a Twitter fight between Cuomo and Trump.
In a tweet late Wednesday, Trump included Cuomo’s quote before criticizing the governor.
“Can you believe this is the Governor of the Highest Taxed State in the U.S., Andrew Cuomo, having a total meltdown!,” Trump tweeted.
Cuomo responded and accused Trump of wanting to take the country back to a time when discrimination was accepted.
“What you say would be ‘great again’ would not be great at all,” Cuomo tweeted.
“We will not go back to discrimination, segregation, sexism, isolationism, racism or the KKK.”
The Democratic governor is seeking a third term this year, and he faces a Democratic primary Sept. 13 against liberal Cynthia Nixon.
“I think this is just another example of Andrew Cuomo trying to figure out what a progressive sounds like and missing by a mile,” Nixon said in a statement.
Cuomo was trying to make the point that Trump’s slogan, “Make America Great Again,” is aimed at moving the nation backward, not forward, on equal rights for women and minorities.
“The simple point is all this comes down to this: We’re not going to make America great again. It was never that great,” Cuomo said, which led to gasps from the crowd.
“We have not reached greatness. We will reach greatness when every American is fully engaged. We will reach greatness when discrimination and stereotyping against women — 51 percent of our population — is gone.”
Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro, the Dutchess County executive, did a round of media interviews Thursday to knock Cuomo, including a press conference on the steps of City Hall in New York City.
“This governor should be ashamed and apologize for his comments,” Molinaro said on WGDJ-AM in Albany.
Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, R-Suffolk County, said Cuomo should make a personal apology.
“No matter what the Governor’s radical leftist advisers want him to say, America was, is, and always will be great,” Flanagan said in a statement.
“The Governor should apologize today – not through a spokesperson – but with his own words and from his own mouth.”
The Rev. Al Sharpton, a Cuomo backer, showed support for Cuomo on Thursday morning on Twitter, writing, “We are not going back to the ‘good old days’ — our people didn’t do well, we fight 4 our rights & fight racism.”
Cuomo had no public events planned Thursday, but a spokeswoman Wednesday night sought to explain Cuomo’s remarks — which were made as he signed a bill in Manhattan to make sexual trafficking a felony.
“The governor believes America is great and that her full greatness will be fully realized when every man, woman, and child has full equality,” Dani Lever, the spokeswoman, said.
“America has not yet reached its maximum potential.”
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