Gary Johnson: I Thought Aleppo Was An Acronym

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter
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Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson admitted he did not know what Aleppo was while appearing on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Thursday.

“Yes, I understand the dynamics of the Syrian conflict — I talk about them every day,” said Johnson in a statement just hours after the show. “But hit with ‘What about Aleppo?’, I immediately was thinking about an acronym, not the Syrian conflict.”

The Libertarian candidate admitted he “blanked” on the question, noting, “it happens, and it will happen again during the course of this campaign.”

Johnson’s gaff came in response to a fairly rudimentary question from commentator Mike Barnicle.

“What would you do if you were elected about Aleppo?” asked Barnicle.

“And what is Aleppo?” replied Johnson, raising the eyebrows of the show’s panelists.

“You’re kidding,” responded Barnicle, who then had to explain to the candidate seeking the world’s most powerful office how Aleppo was the war-torn city at the center of the five-year-old Syrian conflict.

Johnson then remarked that the U.S. should “join hands” with Russia to find a diplomatic solution to the problem. Secretary of State John Kerry has attempted to do just that on multiple occasions, yet Russia and its ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, continue to wantonly massacre civilians in Aleppo.

“Can I name every city in Syria? No. Should I have identified Aleppo? Yes,” said Johnson. “Do I understand its significance? Yes.”

Johnson noted that while he served as governor, he often did not know things off the top of his head, and surrounded himself with people who do. “That is what a President must do,” said the statement. He noted that, as President, he would begin to tackle difficult issues with “daily security briefings” that will be a “fundamental” part of the job.

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Russ Read