A few short weeks ago, Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson introduced the world to his “Aleppo moment,” in which he failed to name the war-torn city of Syria that’s the subject of so many headlines about nightly airstrikes and barrel bombings. Not too much time passed before Johnson couldn’t name the foreign leader that he most admired. Some people interpreted this as Johnson not admiring any leaders, while others took it as an example of his lack of foreign policy expertise.
Johnson may have settled any ambiguity this week by telling CNN how it’s good for a president to not know much about foreign countries and leaders. A past blunder has resurfaced (which we’ll talk about in a moment) but first comes a Wednesday interview, in which Johnson spoke with the New York Times and may have experienced his latest Aleppo moment:
Mr. Johnson conspicuously sought to avoid another misstep. Asked if he knew the name of North Korea’s leader, Mr. Johnson replied, “I do.”
“You want me to name” the person, he said, then paused, before adding dryly, “Really.” But he declined to supply the name.
Johnson, a non-interventionist by nature, then criticized the media for not calling out Clinton’s interventionist ways because they’re blinded by her foreign policy knowledge. “Because Hillary Clinton can dot the i’s and cross the t’s on geographic leaders, of the names of foreign leaders,” Johnson asserted, people forget all about thousands of deaths in Syria, which he partially blames Clinton on a level of “shared responsibility.” Johnson claims he never would have “put us in that situation.” His Syria discussion leads back to his first Aleppo moment, which also causes more questions about Johnson not naming North Korea’s leader.
Obviously, North Korea is one of the United States’ greatest enemies, which just so happens to have recently conducted its biggest nuclear test and declared the United States to be within striking range of its missiles. Granted, North Korea is often full of garbage, but the latest nuke test appears to have checked out with both South Korea surveillance and seismic detectors. So, anyone who aspires to lead the U.S. really should know the name of North Korea’s leader. Is Johnson seeking to appear purposely obtuse?
Well, a July interview between Johnson and The New Yorker has resurfaced to reveal a discussion about how he entered a room named after Harriet Tubman and asked, “Who’s Harriet Tubman?” Once someone told him who Tubman was, he did remember that she’s going to appear on currency. So, perhaps he knows these things and has a terrible memory? Only Johnson knows for sure.