‘What Is Aleppo?’ Asks Libertarian Nominee Gary Johnson On MSNBC ‘Morning Joe’ [Video]
Libertarian presidential nominee and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe this morning, where he was asked about the war-torn Syrian city of Aleppo.
“What would you do, if you were elected, about Aleppo?” the former governor was asked by Mike Barnicle
“About?” a puzzled Gary Johnson responded.
“Aleppo,” the name of the city was repeated clearly.
“And what is Aleppo?” Johnson asked with what appeared to be sincere bewilderment, as reported by the MSNBC Morning Joe program via YouTube.
“You’re kidding,” the MSNBC panelist responded to Johnson.
“No,” Johnson returned, still bewildered.
“Aleppo is in Syria,” Mike Barnicle stated and explained to Johnson that it is the “epicenter” of the country’s refugee crisis.
“OK, got it,” Johnson said with a flicker of recognition.
Johnson then went on to speak about the situation in Syria as a whole, but failed to address problems faced specifically in the Syrian city with a reported population over two million. He opined that the United States and Russia need to form an allegiance and mutually take on ISIS.
Reaction on social media was swift, with one user speculating that Johnson’s comments reflected “waking and baking.” Another predicted that the gaffe would end Gary Johnson’s presidential run.
I know Johnson has said he's not gonna smoke weed while running for POTUS but I think he's waking and baking #WhatIsAleppo
— Jenny DeMilo LLC (@jennydemilo) September 8, 2016
— Almost Out Of Patience (@almostflmcritic) September 8, 2016
Real Clear Politics national poll averages currently show former Governor Johnson running in third place behind Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump with 8.6 percent of voter favor.
It was recently reported that 76 percent of Americans felt that Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein should be included in upcoming televised presidential debates.
— Dr. Jill Stein? (@DrJillStein) September 6, 2016
Aleppo is one of the oldest continuously populated cities in the world, according to Wikipedia.
Following the MSNBC Gary Johnson-Aleppo remarks, the Libertarian was questioned about his comments by Bloomberg editor and MSNBC political analyst Mark Halperin. Video of the exchange was uploaded to YouTube.
Halperin informed Johnson that voters were making a “big deal” out of his seeming lack of knowledge of Aleppo and asked if perhaps it was a “gotcha moment,” if he was actually familiar with Aleppo, and whether or not it was a subject that, as a presidential candidate, he should have been able to speak about.
Seeming at a loss for words, Johnson admitted that he did not know the name of Aleppo, but that he was familiar that a large city was caught in the crossfire of “two” forces. There are currently numerous warring factions in Syria, including pro-Bashar al-Assad forces supported by the Syrian government, rebels, and Islamic fighters, among others, as reported by ISIS.Livemap.com and Wikipedia.
Just yesterday, witnesses stated that pro-al-Assad forces were responsible for a chlorine gas attack that killed two people and sickened 120 in a portion of the northwestern Syrian city controlled by rebel forces, as reported by the New York Times.
The MSNBC analyst described Johnson’s comments as being the first major political “flap” of the Libertarian presidential campaign that has been preforming “pretty well.”
“I am incredibly frustrated with myself,” Johnson explained to Halperin.
Halperin then asked Johnson if he felt that his comments were deserving of the attention they were receiving.
“Absolutely,” Johnson responded.
The former New Mexico governor then offered a story about being asked about Colonias, a parcel of land located between the United States and Mexican borders, when he was running for office. Johnson stated that he possessed a thorough understanding of the area, but was unfamiliar with the name Colonias, and pointed out that he was still elected. He then pondered whether his admission of ignorance with regard to Aleppo would disqualify his presidential bid in the eyes of voters.
“I feel horrible about it,” Johnson stated.
Halperin then asked if Johnson had heard from his vice presidential running-mate, former Massachusetts Governor William Weld.
“Regarding?” Johnson asked, becoming puzzled again.
“This,” the MSNBC analyst responded pointedly.
“C’mon, I just, I just,” Johnson pleaded, perhaps frustrated that he had just departed the interview and feeling that a reasonable amount of time to conduct such a tête-à-tête had not yet passed.
[Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images]