Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell on Tuesday that being able to “dot the I’s and cross the T’s on foreign leaders and geographical locations” allows leaders “to put our military in harm’s way.”
Johnson was responding to questions about his latest foreign policy gaffes, including one last month when he asked “What is Aleppo?” when asked about the war in Syria, and more recently when he could not name a single world leader he admired in a conversation with Chris Matthews.
“You know, when it comes to talking about a foreign leader that you admire, I have a hard time with that one,” Johnson said. “That’s politics. That’s just who I am … maybe I think too much.”
Andrea Mitchell responded that he’s running to be commander-in-chief and that knowing how to answer questions like these is “part of the portfolio.”
Johnson replied that “the fact that somebody can dot the I’s and cross the T’s on a foreign leader or geographic location then allows them to put our military in harm’s way.”
“We put our military in this horrible situation where we go in and support regime change,” he explained. “They get involved in civil wars where hundreds of thousands of innocent people are in a cross-fire … we’re literally shooting at ourselves because we support both sides of a conflict. Syria is an example.”
Johnson was referring to the periodic violence that has eruped between Syria’s Arab opposition fighters and the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces, both of which are supported by the US.
“We wonder why our men and servicewomen suffer from PSD [sic] in the first place,” Johnson continued. “It’s because we elect people who can can dot the I’s and cross the T’s on these names and geographic locations, as opposed to the underlying philosophy, which is ‘Let’s stop getting involved in these regime changes.'”
Watch the full exchange below:
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