“I want to be very clear,” Cuomo said on Friday in a call with reporters. “Of course America is great and of course America has always been great.”

His original phrasing, he said, had been “inartful”.

Cuomo made the offending remark on Wednesday, at the end of a speech focused on his opposition to Donald Trump and delivered to an audience gathered to witness the signing of a bill introducing new penalties for sex trafficking.

Riffing on Trump’s famous campaign slogan, the governor said: “We’re not going to make America great again – it was never that great.”

To gasps and laughter, he continued: “We have not reached greatness. We will reach greatness when every American is fully engaged.”

Just last night I was reflecting on how mystifying some English is to me, as I was unable to interpret this phrase on Wikipedia:

Proto-Balto-Slavic is easily reconstructible with important proofs in historic prosody.

While this is English I was unable to parse it. I had the same reaction to Cuomo’s statement as well as his „walking back“ his statement. (How to translate „walking back a statement“ into German? Russian? Lithuanian?). What does it mean for a nation to have „always been great“? What is the test for this? Why the gasps from Cuomo’s audience?

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