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Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson asks: What is Aleppo?

posted on: Sep 8, 2016

BY: Alexa George/Contributing Writer

Earlier Thursday morning, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson embarrassingly admitted that he did not know what “Aleppo” is. For those unaware, Aleppo is Syria’s largest city and home to many refugees affected by the current civil war in Syria.

MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” contributor Mike Barnicle asked the candidate what he would do about Aleppo if he were elected.

Johnson then asked, “And what is Aleppo?”

Barnicle immediately replied with, “Are you kidding me?” Then proceeded to explain, “Aleppo is the epicenter of the refugee crisis”

With a sheer look of defeat, Johnson quickly stated, “Okay got it, got it” and went on to define his policy on the Syrian civil war. Grabbling for words, he said, “Joining 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.”

From then on, a flustered Gary Johnson attempted to recover and address the issue – only making matters worse. The idea of a presidential candidate failing to be familiar with one of the currently most discussed cities in the entire world is frightening and discouraging.

In a follow up interview with Bloomberg Politics Editor Mark Halperin, Johnson said Aleppo is “between two forces” and expressed his knowledge on the issue, but failed to recognize that Aleppo is literally at the heart of the subject. Searching for words, he stated, “When you recognize what’s going in Syria, when you recognize that Aleppo is in the kinda the epicenter betwe – Aleppo – knowing there is a city between the two forces, but not remembering or identifying that that’s Aleppo, I’m guilty”

When in reality, there are more than two forces fighting in this civil war, Johnson admits that he is incredibly frustrated with himself and plans to “get smarter” with certain current events. Stating, “Can I name every city in Syria? No. Should I have identified Aleppo? Yes. Do I understand its significance? Yes.”

The presidential candidate admits he made a mistake, but in an upcoming election where the topic of Syria is a significant foreign policy standpoint, this is one gaffe no candidate could get out of unscathed.