Why Gary Johnson’s Aleppo Gaffe is Just the Tip of the Iceberg

posted by Breanna Khorrami 0 comments
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Photo: Gary Johnson by Gage Skidmore

‘What is Aleppo?’ Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson asked in an interview on Thursday morning. As troubling as this comment is, it’s just the tip of the iceberg for Johnson.

On MSNBC’s Morning Joe, the former New Mexico Governor was asked what he would do about Aleppo if elected. His response, however unexpected, was to ask what ‘Aleppo’ was. Visibly stunned, contributor Mike Barnicle exclaimed, “you’re kidding.” To which Johnson responded by simply saying, “no.”

After the event, reporters caught up with Johnson and he attempted to explain the gaffe.

According to Bloomberg, Johnson stated,

“I’m incredibly frustrated with myself,” Johnson said in an interview off-set after the gaffe. He said he was “guilty” of not remembering Aleppo was a central city in the Syrian conflict.

“Sure it should,” he said when asked if the incident should be treated as significant. “Believe me, no one is taking this more seriously than me. I feel horrible.”

“I have to get smarter and that’s just part of the process,” he said.

The comment has shocked many as they expected someone running for president would know about the fact that Aleppo is the center of the refugee crisis in Syria. However, it’s really just a taste of what would come of a Johnson presidency.

Johnson’s libertarian ideology extends deep into his stance on many hot button issues this election. For instance, his stance on women’s healthcare — while it may not come from a morality standpoint like religious conservatives, Johnson believes that the government is ‘ill equipped’ to handle abortion and that insurers should not be required to provide free birth control.

Among other things, Johnson supports a states right to display the confederate flag. He’s hesitant on ‘equal pay for equal work’ legislation. Johnson supports a 0% corporate tax as he believes it would create more jobs. He supports leaving most legislative decisions to the states, rather than the federal government. Johnson wants to end the Department of Education. He doesn’t support mandatory vaccinations for children.

And all of those issues are just domestic. Abroad, Johnson seems to be completely clueless. To be sure, Johnson’s Aleppo gaffe was no mistake. His latest comment is just a symptom of what seems to be a very broken idea of what presidential foreign policy should look like. It is clear that Johnson doesn’t know much about Syria at all, regardless of how he tried to clean up the mess that his gaffe made.

Johnson has said that we should take our share of Syrian refugees, but not too many.

“We need to take our share, and I’m not sure what that share should be. I’d like to come up with a formula based on our coalition partners. I wouldn’t say zero, but I don’t know if 65,000 puts us in the category of “our fair share.”

In effect, his far right anti-government stance, coupled with his lack of foreign policy acumen, could stand to hurt a lot of people should he, by some unlikely stroke of fate, make his way into the oval office.

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of Citizen Slant.

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