Cuomo's office walks back comment that America 'was never that great'

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's (D) office on Wednesday walked back his remark earlier in the day that America "was never that great," insisting the governor believes the U.S. is great but that it has not reached its "maximum potential."

"The Governor believes America is great and that her full greatness will be fully realized when every man, woman, and child has full equality,” spokeswoman Dani Lever said in a statement. “America has not yet reached its maximum potential."

Lever said Cuomo's comments were meant to address President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: I hope voters pay attention to Dem tactics amid Kavanaugh fight South Korea leader: North Korea agrees to take steps toward denuclearization Graham calls handling of Kavanaugh allegations 'a drive-by shooting' MORE's campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again."

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"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," Lever said. "The Governor believes that when everyone is fully included and everyone is contributing to their maximum potential, that is when America will achieve maximum greatness." 

Cuomo at a bill-signing event on Wednesday said sexist discrimination was holding the U.S. back. 

"We’re not gonna make America great again," Cuomo, who is facing a Democratic primary challenge from left-wing activist and actress Cynthia Nixon, said at the event, where he signed anti-sex-trafficking bills into law. "It was never that great." 

"We will reach greatness when discrimination and stereotyping against women, 51 percent of our population, is gone," he said. "And every woman’s full potential is realized and unleashed and every woman is making her full contribution. When that happens, this nation is going to be taken even higher."

Marc Molinaro, the Republican nominee for governor, quickly said Cuomo should "apologize" for the comments.

Lever in the statement later on Wednesday called out GOP strategist Jessica Proud, who tweeted it was "shocking that a governor of a major state would make such an ignorant, insulting comment."

"Jessica Proud, spokesperson for the Republican Party said, 'America is & always has been the greatest,'" Lever said. "She should talk to President Trump who says make America great again — which obviously means he doesn't think it is great now."