Gary Johnson stuns MSNBC host when asked about Syrian city Aleppo: 'You're kidding'
Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson stunned the hosts of MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Thursday when he did not know the site of some of the fiercest fighting in Syria's civil war.
In the interview, contributor Mike Barnicle asked the Libertarian presidential candidate what he would "do about Aleppo," prompting a befuddled response from Johnson.
"What is Aleppo?" Johnson asked.
"You're kidding," Barnicle replied.
"No," Johnson said.
After Barnicle explained Aleppo's significance in the Syrian civil war, Johnson offered a meandering response, saying that Syria was "a mess." He also offered that the US had to work with Russia to reach a diplomatic solution to the conflict.
"The only way that we deal with Syria is to join hands with Russia to diplomatically bring that at an end," Johnson said. "But when we've aligned ourselves with — when we've 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."
Johnson's stumble on Syria comes at a time when his candidacy has appeared to pick up slightly more steam than when he ran for the presidency in 2012.
Former presidential candidates like Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney both suggested that Johnson should be allowed to participate in the debates.
The RealClearPolitics average of recent polls showed Johnson on Thursday with around 9% support, 6 percentage points away from qualifying for the debates.