Gary Johnson Explains Syria Gaffe: I Thought ‘Aleppo’ Was An Acronym

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September 8, 2016 11:05 a.m.

Gary Johnson explained on Thursday that he failed to identify the name of a major Syrian city during an interview because he thought that “Aleppo” was an acronym.

“Yes, I understand the dynamics of the Syrian conflict—I talk about them every day,” the Libertarian presidential candidate said in a statement to CNN hours after his appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “But hit with ‘What about Aleppo?’, I immediately was thinking about an acronym, not the Syrian conflict. I blanked. It happens, and it will happen again during the course of this campaign.”

“Can I name every city in Syria? No,” Johnson continued, calling his slip-up a “human” error. “Should I have identified Aleppo? Yes. Do I understand its significance? Yes.”

The former New Mexico governor left the “Morning Joe” hosts aghast on Thursday morning when he asked “What is Aleppo?” in response to a question about how he would help the beleaguered Syrian city as president. Aleppo has been devastated during Syria’s five years of civil war, and its citizens have endured chemical attacks and waves of air strikes in recent weeks.

Johnson’s bungled response to the question and pledge to “get smarter” about foreign policy left some political observers asking if he was fit to be commander-in-chief, given how close we are to Election Day.

Read Johnson’s full statement below courtesy of CNN’s Jason Morrell.

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