Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson’s longshot bid for the White House appears to have grown even more remote.
The former New Mexico governor who asked “What is Aleppo?” in an interview earlier this month was stumped Wednesday night when asked to name his favorite foreign leader during an appearance on MSNBC television.
In the cringe-worthy minute-long segment, Johnson sat speechless as host Chris Matthews posed the question: “Who’s your favorite foreign leader? Any one of the continents, any country, name one foreign leader that you respect and look up to, anybody.”
Johnson’s running mate William Weld, sitting alongside him in the townhall style interview, offered, “Mine was Shimon Peres.”
“I’m talking about living,” Matthews responded.
“Go ahead,” he said, gesturing to Johnson. “You gotta do this. Anywhere, any continent. Canada, Mexico, Europe, over there, Asia, South America, Africa, name a foreign leader that you respect.”
Johnson’s answer: “I guess I’m having an Aleppo moment.”
He then said “the former president of Mexico,” but was unable to give a name, blaming a “brain freeze.”
Weld prompted “Fox,” referring to Vicente Fox, who served from 2000 to 2006.
“Fox! He was terrific,” Johnson said, but Matthews had already moved on to Weld, who had no problems in answering that German Chancellor Angela Merkel was his favorite foreign leader.
Johnson was mocked mercilessly on Twitter earlier this month for asking an interviewer “What is Aleppo?” in response to a question about the ravaged Syrian city that is a flashpoint in the civil war that has ravaged the country for more than five years.
He later explained that he understands the dynamics of the Syrian conflict but in the moment blanked and thought Aleppo was an acronym.
While his party generally plays on the fringes of American politics, Johnson is expected to be the choice of at least some Americans disillusioned by the historically unpopular major party candidates, Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump.