New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has worked to portray himself as a major antagonist to President Trump, offered an alternative to the president's famous campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again," at a bill signing Wednesday.
"We are not going to make America great again. It was never that great," he said. The audience members, who were there to watch Cuomo sign a bill to make sex trafficking a felony in the state, reacted with audible gasps and cheers.
The governor was attempting to make a larger point about women's equality, but the context was lost with the shocked reaction to his first sentence.
"We will reach greatness when every American is fully engaged. We will reach greatness when discrimination and stereotyping against women -- 51 percent our our population -- is gone, and every woman's reach full potential is realized and unleashed," Cuomo said.
President Trump took to twitter after hearing the remarks, saying the governor of America's highest-taxed state is "having a total meltdown."
“WE’RE NOT GOING TO MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, IT WAS NEVER THAT GREAT.” Can you believe this is the Governor of the Highest Taxed State in the U.S., Andrew Cuomo, having a total meltdown!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 16, 2018
The governor, a Democrat, is currently seeking re-election for his third term. Cuomo's Republican challenger, Marc Molinaro, almost immediately released a statement condemning Cuomo's words.
“America was never that great,” - Cuomo “...perhaps it is time for him to step out of the way & let another... take a turn at changing it for the better. Perhaps a guy who was raised by a poor single mother in Yonkers... who doesn’t need to play dress-up. https://t.co/ENoyEZuSSS— Marc Molinaro (@marcmolinaro) August 16, 2018
"America, with its imperfections, has always been great," Molinaro said. "Mr. Cuomo owes the nation an apology. He should be ashamed of himself."