New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D.) slammed President Donald Trump's "Make America Great Again" slogan on Wednesday, saying the country was "never that great" in the first place.
Speaking at an event for women and girls, Cuomo appeared to stun the crowd when he made the remark.
Recent Stories in Politics
"We're not going to make America great again," Cuomo said. "It was never that great."
Some in the audience gasped and laughed in surprise.
"We have not reached greatness," he said. "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, and every woman's full potential is realized and unleashed, and every woman is making her full contribution."
Cuomo on #MAGA: "We are not going to make America great America. It was never that great….We have not reached greatness."
— Shane Goldmacher (@ShaneGoldmacher) August 15, 2018
Trump's motto became one of the most well-known aspects of his campaign, and it can often be found on red hats on his supporters. Trump frequently finishes his speeches by saying that "we will make America great again."
Cuomo is seeking a third term as governor and is considered one of many possible contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020. He's currently facing a left-wing challenge from actress Cynthia Nixon in the Democratic primary for governor, but he has a wide lead in the polls.
His office released a statement later to clarify his earlier remarks, saying Cuomo "believes America is great."
"Governor Cuomo disagrees with the President," Cuomo's office 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."
CUOMO's office clarifies:
"Governor Cuomo disagrees with the President. 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."
— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) August 15, 2018
UPDATE: 4:34 p.m.: This article was updated with a statement from Cuomo's office.