Cuomo reverses 'inartful' comments: 'Of course America has always been great'

Cuomo reverses 'inartful' comments: 'Of course America has always been great'
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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) reversed remarks he made earlier this week about American greatness, calling his language "inartful."

Cuomo told reporters on a conference call Friday that he believes the country "has always been great," the Democrat and Chronicle reported.

"The expression I used the other day was inartful, so I want to be very clear," Cuomo said Friday. "Of course America is great and of course America has always been great. No one questions that."

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During a bill signing ceremony Wednesday, Cuomo said America "was never that great," drawing an audible response from the crowd.

"We’re not gonna make America great again," Cuomo said at the event, where he signed anti-sex-trafficking bills into law. "It was never that great." 

"We have not reached greatness," he continued. "We will reach greatness when every American is fully engaged."

The remarks spurred criticism from both sides of the aisle, including from 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, who blasted Cuomo for riffing off his "Make America Great Again" campaign slogan and questioned how he could "survive" in the state.

"How does a politician, Cuomo, known for pushing people and businesses out of his state, not to mention having the highest taxes in the U.S., survive making the statement, WE’RE NOT GOING TO MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, IT WAS NEVER THAT GREAT? Which section of the sentence is worse?" Trump tweeted Friday morning.

Cuomo's office initially offered context for the statements Thursday afternoon, clarifying that the governor believes that "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,” Cuomo's press secretary, Dani 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.”