Gary Johnson Issues Statement On Aleppo Gaffe

Libertarian presidential candidate, Gary Johnson, issued the following statement regarding his Aleppo gaffe today:

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.

The Libertarian presidential candidate appeared on the MSNBC show Morning Joe today and was asked by panelist Mike Barnicle during an in-studio interview what he would do about Aleppo.

The former New Mexico governor then revealed a surprising lack of foreign policy knowledge on the subject by answering back with “What is Aleppo?” Mr. Johnson said when asked on MSNBC how, as President, he would address the refugee crisis in the Syrian city that is a stronghold of the Islamic State.

A stunned Barnacle then replied, “You’re kidding”. Johnson then answered back that he was not.

When the Morning Joe panelist explained to Johnson that Aleppo is “the epicenter of the refugee crisis” in Syria, that was enough information for the presidential candidate to answer the question, as he then gave the following response:

“Okay, Got it. Well, with regard to Syria, I do think that it’s a mess,” he said. “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.”

Following this, co-host, Joe Scarbough pressed Johnson on the gaffe that just occurred, asking that if the presidential candidate believes “that foreign policy is so insignificant that somebody running for president of the United States shouldn’t even know what Aleppo is, where Aleppo is, why Aleppo is so important?”
Johnson followed up:
“I do understand Aleppo and I understand the crisis that is going on. But when we involve ourselves militarily, when we involve ourselves in these humanitarian issues, issues, we end up with a situation that in most cases is not better, and in many cases ends up being worse, and we find ourselves always, politicians are up against the wall, and ask what to do about these things, and this is why we end up committing military force in areas that, like I say, at the end of the day have an unintended consequence of making things worse.”

This article was edited for grammar, style, and spelling, but not for content. The views expressed are that of the author, Mike Mazzarone, exclusively, and do not reflect that of BeingLibertarian.com or Being Libertarian LLC

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