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This Presidential Candidate Does Not Know What Aleppo Is

"You're kidding."

Originally posted on
Updated on

On Thursday's Morning Joe, Johnson was asked what he would do about Aleppo if he were elected president. Johnson asked, "About?" and host Mike Barnicle repeated, "Aleppo." Johnson then said, "And what is Aleppo?"

.@mikebarnicle: What would you do, if you were elected, about Aleppo? @GovGaryJohnson: And what is Aleppo? https://t.co/ZbqO5RAEsk

"You're kidding," Barnicle said, to which Johnson shook his head and said, "No" as four people just stared at him.

Barnicle explained that Aleppo was in Syria and was the "epicenter of the refugee crisis."

"OK, got it, got it," Johnson replied.

Apart from that, Aleppo is also a crucial and strategic battleground for all the powers tied up in the Syrian conflict.

On Tuesday, an alleged chlorine gas attack injured more than 100 people in Aleppo, including children, activists told CNN. And on Wednesday, at least seven people were killed and 40 injured in airstrikes in Aleppo.

A heartbreaking picture of a 3-year-old boy injured in an Aleppo airstrike was shared around the world in August, becoming a global reminder of the Syrian tragedy.

After the show, Johnson said he was "guilty" of not being able to identify the city in the epicenter of the Syrian war. "I'm frustrated with myself," Johnson told Mark Halperin of Bloomberg. He then compared it to his previous error of not knowing about Colonias, an area in New Mexico.

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"No one takes this more seriously than me," Johnson said. "I feel horrible."

Johnson later released a statement saying he "blanked" when asked about Aleppo.

Must admit, a refreshingly human statement here from Gary Johnson:

"Can I name every city in Syria? No," his statement reads. "Should I have identified Aleppo? Yes. Do I understand its significance? Yes."

He said he blanked when asked the question because he immediately thought about an acronym, not the Syrian conflict.

"I blanked," he said. "It happens, and it will happen again during the course of this campaign."

Tasneem Nashrulla is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Tasneem Nashrulla at tasneem.nashrulla@buzzfeed.com.

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