Libertarian Gary Johnson messed up big this morning when he failed to recognize Syrian city, Aleppo on the political MSNBC morning show Morning Joe.
“What would you do if you were elected about Aleppo?” Mike Barnicle asked Gary Johnson on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
“About?” Johnson asked.
“Aleppo,” Barnicle repeated, referring to Syria’s second-largest city, which has been hit in recent weeks by a series of devastating chemical gas attacks and targeted bombing strikes on its few remaining medical facilities.
“And what is Aleppo?” Johnson asked sunnily, to the astonishment of the “Morning Joe” hosts.
“You’re kidding,” Barnicle said.
“No,” Johnson replied.
“Aleppo is in Syria. It’s the epicenter of the refugee crisis,” Barnicle said.
“Okay got it, got it,” Johnson said. “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 to an end.”
Definitely not a shining moment for Johnson, making the public question his authority and understanding on foreign affairs. If you read about Syrian refugees at all, Aleppo would have come up, even a simple pre-interview Google search would have set him up for success.
To give credit where credit is due, he did release a refreshingly honest statement about 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.
And he is right, we all make mistakes and we’re all human. But we aren’t all running for President.
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