'What is Aleppo?' Wonders Gary Johnson in TV Interview Stumble
Libertarian presidential candidate later said he needs to get "smarter" on certain issues
Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson seemed to inadvertently reveal a stunning lack of foreign policy knowledge on Thursday morning when he didn't know the name of the besieged Syrian city.
"What would you do about Aleppo?" Johnson was asked on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
"What is Aleppo?" the former New Mexico governor responded.
Barnicle: "What would you do...about Aleppo?"
Gary Johnson: "What is Aleppo?"
Barnicle: "Aleppo is in Syria." https://t.co/bUjzLtkI2F
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) September 8, 2016
When asked if he was serious, Johnson replied that he was. Co-host Mike Barnicle briefly explained Aleppo's plight and the Syrian refugee crisis, and Johnson finally answered the question:
Okay, Got it. Well, with regard to Syria, I do think that it's a mess. I think the only way that we deal with Syria is to join hands with Russia to diplomatically bring that at an end but when we’ve aligned ourselves with—when we have supported the opposition, the Free Syrian Army, the Free Syrian Army is also coupled with the Islamists, and then the fact that we're also supporting the Kurds and this is, it's just a mess. And this is the result of regime change that we end up supporting and, inevitably, these regime changes have led to a less safe world.
"So Aleppo is the center of a lot of people's concerns across the planet about the terrible humanitarian crisis that is unfolding not only in Syria, but especially in Aleppo," co-host Joe Scarborough said in response. "You asked, 'What is Aleppo?' Do you really think that foreign policy is so insignificant that somebody running for president of the United States shouldn't even know what Aleppo is, where Aleppo is, why Aleppo is so important?"
"I do understand Aleppo and I understand the crisis that is going on," Johnson said. "But when we involve ourselves militarily, when we involve ourselves in these humanitarian issues, issues, we end up with a situation that in most cases is not better, and in many cases ends up being worse."
In an interview after his "Morning Joe" appearance, Johnson said "I'm incredibly frustrated with myself," and "went on to explain how he realizes he needs to get 'smarter' on certain issues," Politico reports.
Some pundits attempted to use Johnson's gaffe to slam all third-party candidates. However, the two major party candidates were also widely panned on Thursday for their Wednesday evening performance in a lackluster foreign policy forum.