“What is Aleppo?” he responded.
After hosts explained to Johnson that fighting in Aleppo is one of the roots of the Syrian refugee crisis, he launched into a detailed opinion about the United States’ role in the situation. But “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough wasn’t letting him off that easy.
“Aleppo is the center of a lot of people’s concerns across the planet about the terrible humanitarian crisis that is unfolding,” Scarborough said. “You asked ‘What is Aleppo?’ Do you really think that foreign policy is so insignificant that somebody running for president of the United States shouldn’t even know what Aleppo is, where Aleppo is, why Aleppo is so important?”
Johnson later explained in a statement that he “was thinking about an acronym, not the Syrian conflict.”
For several years, Aleppo has been torn apart by clashes between the Syrian government and opposition forces. The fighting has displaced thousands of people, contributing to the growing refugee crisis. Thousands more remain trapped and ― because the ongoing violence makes the delivery of humanitarian aid difficult ― they lack basic necessities like medicine and water.
Johnson insisted in his statement that he did understand the significance of Aleppo. “Can I name every city in Syria? No,” he said. “Should I have identified Aleppo? Yes.”
He earlier told Bloomberg Politics that, “no one is taking this more seriously than me.” “I feel horrible,” he said. “I have to get smarter, and that’s just part of the process.”