Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson Doesn't Know What Aleppo Is

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson asked Thursday on live television, “What is Aleppo?” and social media users are pretty upset about it.

In an interview Thursday morning with Mike Barnicle on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson appeared to be unfamiliar with Aleppo, Syria at first.

For the most part, the internet finds it highly ironic that a man who wishes to be a world leader couldn’t instantly recognize the name of the city which is a hotspot of the Syrian refugee crisis.

Barnicle asked Johnson how he would handle Aleppo as president of the United States. Johnson replied, “What is Aleppo?”

Barnicle, set aback, at first thought the presidential candidate was joking, but, alas, he wasn’t. Johnson gathered himself and then replied with his prepared response.

He replied, "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."

As expected, Johnson’s rival, Hillary Clinton, added her two cents to Johnson's interview gaffe. She dryly rebutted in a speech on Thursday morning, “You can look on a map and find Aleppo.”

Johnson’s interview blunder is now the butt of many jokes across the Internet, namely because as a presidential candidate, one would expect him to not have to be prompted by his interviewer in order to provide an answer to hard-hitting questions. It also raised questions about what the current president is doing about the crisis.

This is not the first instance, nor probably the last, in which Johnson had a memory lapse live on camera. He once asked, “Who's Harriet Tubman?”

Regardless of whether or not Johnson truly had a brain lapse regarding the besieged Syrian city, awareness of the crisis seems to be growing in recent days as heartbreaking photos of suffering children are going viral. But, after the MSNBC interview, Johnson admitted that he was “guilty” of not “remembering or identifying that it’s Aleppo.” 

He further stated that he thought it was an acronym when he first heard "Aleppo" from Barnicle.

Johnson told The Daily Beast, "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."


Banner/Thumbnail Credits: Reuters

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