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Cuomo Offers Context For Saying "America Was Never That Great"

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas
Governor Andrew Cuomo in Goshen, NY 09.22.11

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo stirred some controversy Wednesday when he told an audience at a bill signing ceremony in Manhattan that America “was never that great.”

“We’re not going to make America great again, it was never that great,” said the Democrat, as some in the audience gasped in surprise.

It gained him sharp criticism from the Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Marc Molinaro, who said it was “shocking” and that Cuomo “owes the nation an apology.”

The governor also received critiques on social media.

Later in the day, Cuomo’s press secretary, Dani Lever, issued a statement saying  the governor does believe that America “is great” and was merely making the point that the nation’s greatness has not yet been fully realized because inequalities exist.

Cuomo’s comments directly after his statement appear to bear that out.

“We will reach greatness when every American is fully engaged,” Cuomo said.

Lever says that it’s Trump who is implying, through his campaign slogan, that America is not great right now.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of public radio stations in New York state. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.
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