Politico writers Louis Nelson and Daniel Strauss reported the following today:
Asked what he would do about the Syrian city of Aleppo, the region at the center of that nation’s civil war and refugee crisis, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson responded by asking, “what is Aleppo?”
“What would you do if you were elected about Aleppo?” MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” panelist Mike Barnicle asked the former New Mexico governor during an in-studio interview Thursday morning.
“And what is Aleppo?” Johnson responded.
“You’re kidding,” a stunned Barnicle replied, to which Johnson answered that he was not.
Barnicle explained to the Libertarian candidate that Aleppo is “the epicenter of the refugee crisis” in Syria, giving Johnson enough information to finally answer the question.
Johnson’s gaffe is making the rounds on social media, and other mainstream media outlets have seized on his “blank out.” The campaign did its best to minimize the gaffe, and even released a statement on the incident:
Johnson’s running mate, Bill Weld, is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a think thank including a roster of high-profile individuals that has advocated for a neoconservative foreign policy incompatible with Johnson’s public opposition to “regime change”. However, Weld did not give speeches at the last two Johnson campaign rallies (in Milwaukee and Des Moines, respectively). Johnson had previously named the former Massachusetts governor as his “co-president.”
ForeignPolicy.com said that Johnson “seems to have missed the last five years of U.S. foreign policy.”