Johnson on Aleppo Gaffe: I’m Incredibly Frustrated With Myself

• September 8, 2016 10:59 am


Moments after Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson asked what Aleppo was during a live Morning Joe interview, Bloomberg's Mark Halperin chased Johnson down for an impromptu interview filmed on his iPhone, where Johnson admitted he messed up and was "frustrated with myself."

Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski played the interview on her phone, and the MSNBC camera zoomed all the way in to capture it.

"This is going to be a big deal. This is the first big flap of a campaign that has been going pretty well, right. It's going to be a big flap, I promise you, it already is," Halperin said. "I'm just wondering how you feel."

"I'm incredibly frustrated with myself," Johnson said.

When asked by Halperin if Johnson felt it should be a drag on his campaign, Johnson agreed and said that it should.

Johnson confessed to Halperin that he needs to learn more and did not feel that Mike Barnicle asked a "gotcha" question.

Brzezinski looked horrified after she put down the phone.

Aleppo is home to at least 250,000 people and has been under siege for weeks. Aleppo became the focus of the media and the world last month 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.

International Business Times reported that Johnson's campaign released a statement about his gaffe:

"This morning, I began my day by setting aside any doubt that I’m human. Yes, I understand the dynamics of the Syrian conflict — I talk about them every day. But hit with ‘What about Aleppo?', I immediately was thinking about an acronym, not the Syrian conflict. I blanked," he said. "It happens, and it will happen again during the course of this campaign."

"Can I name every city in Syria? No.  Should I have identified Aleppo? Yes. Do I understand its significance? Yes," Johnson said in his statement, adding that he planned to make principled decisions by consulting expert sources and receiving security briefings.