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Gov. Andrew Cuomo (L) and President Donald Trump. Photos: John Lamparski/WireImage; Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump railed against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo twice on Friday for claiming that America "was never that great" — which Cuomo later walked back — saying that he "already MADE America Great Again."

"Wow! Big pushback on Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York for his really dumb statement about America’s lack of greatness. I have already MADE America Great Again, just look at the markets, jobs, military- setting records, and we will do even better. Andrew 'choked' badly, mistake! ... When a politician admits that 'We’re not going to make America great again,' there doesn’t seem to be much reason to ever vote for him. This could be a career threatening statement by Andrew Cuomo, with many wanting him to resign-he will get higher ratings than his brother Chris!"
— President Trump

The backdrop:

“We are not going to make America great again. It was never that great,” Mr. Cuomo said. “We have not reached greatness. We will reach greatness when every American is fully engaged.”
— Cuomo in a Wednesday speech, which focused heavily on Trump

After feeling the heat from several GOP critics for his jab, from New York to the White House, Cuomo's press secretary Dani Lever clarified in a statement that the “governor believes America is great, but that the country has yet to reach its "maxmium potential."

What to watch: Cuomo, who has been a very public critic of Trump, has been floated as a possible 2020 Democratic presidential candidates.

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
36 mins ago - World

China's Xi Jinping congratulates Biden on election win

Photo: Paul J. Richards/AFP via Getty Images

Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a message to President-elect Biden on Wednesday to congratulate him on his election victory, according to the Xinhua state news agency.

Why it matters: China's foreign ministry offered Biden a belated, and tentative, congratulations on Nov. 13, but Xi had not personally acknowledged Biden's win. The leaders of Brazil, Mexico and Russia are among the very few leaders still declining to congratulate Biden.

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
1 hour ago - Sports

College basketball is back

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A new season of college basketball begins Wednesday, and the goal is clear: March Madness must be played.

Why it matters: On March 12, 2020, the lights went out on college basketball, depriving teams like Baylor (who won our tournament simulation), Dayton, San Diego State and Florida State of perhaps their best chance to win a national championship.

2 hours ago - World

Scoop: Israeli military prepares for possibility Trump will strike Iran

Defense Minister Benny Gantz attends a cabinet meeting. Photo: Abir Sultan/POOL/AFP via Getty

The Israel Defense Forces have in recent weeks been instructed to prepare for the possibility that the U.S. will conduct a military strike against Iran before President Trump leaves office, senior Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: The Israeli government instructed the IDF to undertake the preparations not because of any intelligence or assessment that Trump will order such a strike, but because senior Israeli officials anticipate “a very sensitive period” ahead of Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20.