(WHAM) - Governor Andrew Cuomo is pulling back on comments he made earlier Wednesday saying America "was never great."
The Democratic governor made the remarks during a women's rights event early Wednesday afternoon. He was commenting on President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign slogan 'Make America Great Again' and contrasted the president's more conservative policies and controversial statements about women's appearances when he made the remark.
Republican lawmakers and political candidates seized on the comment, calling it an "insult" and "egregious."
“America, with its imperfections, has always been great," said Marc Molinaro, the Republican candidate for governor of New York. "Mr. Cuomo owes the nation an apology. He should be ashamed of himself."
Dani Lever, spokesperson for Governor Cuomo, released a statement Wednesday afternoon.
"Jessica Proud, spokesperson for the Republican Party said, 'America is & always has been the greatest.' She should talk to President Trump who says make America great again - which obviously means he doesn't think it is great now.
"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.
"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. 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."