Finally, A Crazy Presidential Gaffe Not Involving Trump

Ladies and gentleman, this is your third party option

Gary Johnson REUTERS/Brian Snyder — REUTERS
Sep 08, 2016 at 10:59 AM ET

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson doesn’t know the name of one of the central cities in one of the world’s ugliest ongoing conflicts. Asked in a TV interview what he would do about Aleppo, a Syrian city allegedly subjected to a chlorine attack on Tuesday, he responded, “And what is Aleppo?” He was not being philosophical.

“You’re kidding,” responds his baffled interviewer. “No,” replied Johnson. “Aleppo is in Syria. It is the epicenter of the refugee crisis,” explains the interviewer. From there Johnson enters into his stump speech about the Syrian quagmire, suggesting America should team with Russia to diplomatically end the conflict, and there are all these different groups with different goals America supports there like the Kurds and the Free Syrian Army, and sheesh! It’s complicated.

By the time Johnson circles to his point that the Syrian conflict is a product of America’s failed policy of regime change it is much too late: Johnson has made provided perhaps the most ignorant foreign policy response of the the 2016 presidential election. (This is in an election featuring Republican Donald Trump, who doesn’t know the difference between Hezbollah and Hamas.)

To make sure that Johnson never ever makes this same mistake again, and salvage his recent 10 percent showing in polls, here are some Aleppo facts for him based on a quick google search, that he, a presidential candidate, in the United States of America, has somehow not managed to do.

Aleppo is an ancient city and UNESCO world heritage site. It is Syria’s commercial capital and the site of an ongoing conflict between rebels and Bashir Assad’s government forces that even in 2012 was referred to as Syria’s Stalingrad. Hundreds of thousands have been forced to evacuate, putting pressure on the ongoing refugee crisis. Chemical weapons are likely being used there recently, it is not the first time. If all these facts don’t help Johnson, he can fixate on this iconic photo of a Syrian boy in Aleppo following an airstrike there. Aleppo is awful.

Johnson responded to the error with a statement, that, if it doesn’t forgive his ignorance, at least comes off as refreshingly frank. “This morning, I began my day by setting aside any doubt that I’m human,” he wrote. “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.”