Today’s political gaffe du jour belonged to Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson, who during an MSNBC interview infamously inquired “What is Aleppo?” Ok, fine, it happens: in a refreshingly honest statement basically saying, “sorry, I am human”, Gary later explained justified the momentary lapse of knowledge as follows: “I’m incredibly frustrated with myself. I have to get smarter and that’s just part of the process…. Can I name every city in Syria? No. Should I have identified Aleppo? Yes. Do I understand its significance? Yes.”
That, however did not stop the media from unleashing a blitzkrieg of attacks mocking the New Mexico governor. Among them none other than the stalwart supporter of liberal ideals, the New York Times, whose Alan Rappeport had this to say in its take on Johnson’s “stumble.”
Gary Johnson, the former New Mexico governor and Libertarian Party presidential nominee, revealed a surprising lack of foreign policy knowledge on Thursday that could rock his insurgent candidacy when he could not answer a basic question about the crisis in Aleppo, Syria. “What is Aleppo?” Mr. Johnson said when asked on MSNBC how, as president, he would address the refugee crisis in the war-torn Syrian city. After Mike Barnicle, an MSNBC commentator who is often part of the “Morning Joe” program panel, explained that Aleppo was the center of Syria’s refugee crisis, Mr. Johnson struggled to recover. The stumble could be a serious blow to Mr. Johnson’s campaign, just as he is making a final push to improve his standing in the polls.
Big deal, is happens: in the heat of the moment, everyone draws a blank, especially when millions are watching. it goes without saying that there are far greater travesties in this presidential election involving both of Johnson’s competitors.
Still, there may be an explanation that explains the Libertarian’s lack of knowledge on this topic: he may have just been reading the New York Times. During the NYT’s attempt to lampoon the “confused” Johnson, the NYT gave its answer to “what is Aleppo”, not once, but twice.
This was the awkward result.