Gov. Tom Wolf says he could’ve picked his words better when he said that Pennsylvania’s biggest problem is “low self-esteem.”
At a recent meeting of the National Governors Association in Washington, D.C., C-SPAN recorded Wolf’s response to the question: What is the biggest economic issue facing Pennsylvania?
“This is going to sound strange, I mean I agree with everybody – education, we gotta build out the infrastructure, we have to make investments to make sure the economy can function,” said Wolf. “But I think the biggest problem in Pennsylvania is low self-esteem.”
Wolf was soon second-guessing his remark.
“Self-esteem was probably a poor choice of words, yes,” said Wolf after speaking to business groups on the outskirts of Harrisburg Tuesday morning.
But he defended what he meant — that good leadership should focus on Pennsylvania’s many positive attributes, including its history, location, and world-class cities.
“We need leadership that focuses on those great things,” said Wolf. “What I was trying to say was part of leadership is making sure we appreciate what we have here in Pennsylvania.”
Top Republicans accused Wolf of insulting Pennsylvania’s workforce.
“Good leaders do not blame the people of Pennsylvania and their ‘self-esteem’ for the economic challenges in the state,” said Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman in a written statement.
Wolf pushed back again on Twitter later on Tuesday, responding to the Pennsylvania GOP’s tweeted questions about the remark.
“I will be leader for a change,” read the tweet from Wolf’s account, “who brags about our great people and assets to improve Pennsylvania.”