‘What Is Aleppo?’ A Fateful Question for Libertarian Presidential Nominee Gary Johnson
Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson has been increasing his mainstream media appearances in an effort to gain the poll numbers needed to be included in the upcoming presidential debates. But in an MSNBC interview Thursday, Johnson stunned audiences with his response to a foreign policy question about Aleppo, Syria’s biggest city before becoming the “most significant battlefield” in the civil war that has been raging for years, creating millions of refugees.
Mike Barnicle of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” asked Johnson, “What would you do, if you were elected, about Aleppo?”
Johnson: “About — ?”
Johnson: “And what is Aleppo?”
Barnicle: “You’re kidding.”
His response left the panel of interviewers momentarily speechless, but Barnicle gave a brief explanation and the interview proceeded.
Johnson’s campaign has since released a statement regarding the incident:
“This morning, I began my day by setting aside any doubt that I’m human. Yes, I understand the dynamics of the Syrian conflict — I talk about them every day. But hit with ‘What about Aleppo?’, I immediately was thinking about an acronym, not the Syrian conflict. I blanked. It happens, and it will happen again during the course of this campaign.
“Can I name every city in Syria? No. Should I have identified Aleppo? Yes. Do I understand its significance? Yes.
“As Governor, there were many things I didn’t know off the top of my head. But I succeeded by surrounding myself with the right people, getting to the bottom of important issues, and making principled decisions. It worked. That is what a President must do.
“That would begin, clearly, with daily security briefings that, to me, will be fundamental to the job of being President.”
As noted by The New York Times, the Libertarian ticket has been getting “a serious look” from Republicans who oppose Donald Trump. However, this “stumble could derail” any potential of Johnson reaching the polling numbers he needs to appear onstage beside Trump and Hillary Clinton in the presidential debates.
Additionally, writes the Times, this “was not the first time that Mr. Johnson has faced such a situation. After speaking at a Politico convention in June, he was being directed to a room that was named after Harriet Tubman, the former slave and abolitionist. According to a report in The New Yorker, Mr. Johnson asked, ‘Who’s Harriet Tubman?’ ”
Watch the clip of Johnson and Barnicle’s exchange below:
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