Gary Johnson: What is Aleppo?

September 8, 2016

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson was asked about how he would handle Aleppo if he was elected president by Mike Barnicle on Thursday’s Morning Joe.

Johnson did not know what Aleppo was.

"And what is Aleppo?" Johnson said.

"You're kidding," Barnicle said.

He then explained it was a Syrian city that was at the epicenter of the war-torn country's refugee crisis.

"Okay. Got it. Well, with regard to Syria, I do think that it is a mess," Johnson said. "I think the only way that we deal with Syria is to join hands with Russia to diplomatically bring that at an end but when we align ourselves with – when we’ve supported the opposition, the Free Syrian Army, the Free Syrian Army coupled with the Islamists and the the fact that we’re also supporting the Kurds and that is, it’s just a mess. And that this is the result of regime change that we end up supporting and inevitably these regime changes have led to a less safe world."

Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough asked Johnson if he thought that foreign policy was so insignificant and that a presidential candidate should know what Aleppo is.

"I do understand Aleppo and I understand the crisis that is going on," Johnson said.

According to Johnson’s website the candidate believes that the United States needs to have a strong military but that the U.S. should not use it to solve the world’s problems. Johnson’s website said that soldiers will only be sent to war after authorization by Congress and after a transparent debate.

Reuters reported Thursday that Syria’s army and its allies have regained control over the entire Ramouseh district. The battle over control of Aleppo has been the focus of Shi’ite militia and Russian air power backed President Bashar al-Assad as well as the Sunni rebels looking to overthrow Assad.

Aleppo has been home to at least 250,000 people and has been under siege for weeks. Aleppo became the focus of the media and the world when images surfaced of a young boy named Omran who was pulled from the rubble of his family’s apartment that was bombed by Russian forces.

Syria has been in a five-year civil war that has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced millions. CNN reported that more than 100 people were killed, including dozens of children, in Aleppo in a chlorine gas attack on civilians in a rebel-held area of the city this week.