Gary Johnson says he had an ‘Aleppo moment’ when he struggled to name a foreign leader he liked

Gary Johnson
Gary Johnson Screenshot via MSNBC

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson says he was having an “Aleppo moment” when he was unable to name a favourite foreign leader during an interview on MSNBC Wednesday night.

Chris Matthews asked Johnson, who was sitting with his running mate, Bill Weld, to pick one foreign leader that he looks up to.

Johnson struggled to answer, and Weld swooped in.

“Mine was Shimon Peres,” Weld said, naming the former Israeli president who died Tuesday.

“I’m talking about living,” Matthews quipped, pointing back to Johnson who sat quietly.

“You gotta do this,” Matthews goaded. “Anywhere. Any continent. Canada, Mexico, Europe, over there, Asia, South America, Africa: Name a foreign leader that you respect,” Matthews said.

“I guess I’m having an Aleppo moment,” Johnson responded, adding that he was having trouble thinking of the name of one of the former presidents of Mexico.

That so-called Aleppo moment Johnson mentioned is a reference to another awkward situation earlier this month, in which Johnson asked “What is Aleppo?” during another interview on MSNBC. Aleppo is the site of some of the fiercest fighting in Syria’s civil war.

Since then, Johnson has faced pointed criticism for his apparent lack of foreign-policy knowledge.

Pressed by Matthews again on Wednesday night, Johnson reiterated his answer, “The former president of Mexico.”

“Which one?” asked Matthews.

“I’m having a brain freeze,” Johnson said, as his running mate began to list the names of recent Mexican presidents: “Fox, Calderon …”

“Fox! Thank you!” Johnson shouted out, referring to Vicente Fox, who served as Mexico’s president from 2000 to 2006.

Watch the exchange below:

Gary Johnson had an “Aleppo moment” after @hardballchris asks who his favourite foreign leader is #JohnsonTownhall
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) September 28, 2016

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