Gary Johnson, asked during a televised town hall meeting to name a foreign leader he admires, struggled to come up with a single one, saying that he was having an “Aleppo moment”.
On Wednesday, Johnson and his running mate Bill Weld were being interviewed by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, who posed the question: “Who’s your favorite foreign leader?”
“Anybody,” he added.
Johnson exhaled hard.
“Mine was Shimon Peres,” Weld, a former governor of Massachusetts, interjected.
But Matthews pressed Johnson. “You gotta do this. Anywhere. Any continent. Canada, Mexico, Europe over there, Asia, South America, Africa – name a foreign leader that you respect.”
“I guess I’m having an Aleppo moment,” Johnson said, then quickly said “the former president of Mexico”.
In the end he was rescued by Weld, who leaned over to identify the name Johnson was scrabbling for – Vicente Fox – and put Johnson out of his misery.
Weld was nominated by Bill Clinton in 1997 to serve as US ambassador to Mexico, but his appointment was blocked by Congress.
Fox, the former president of Mexico, has been extremely vocal in his opposition to Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall on the border between the two countries. “I am not going to pay for that fucking wall,” he said in February.
Everyone has a mental lapse once in a while – just ask Rick Perry – though Johnson’s foreign policy positions have often run contrary to received wisdom in the area.
In June, Johnson told the Guardian that he felt the US “shouldn’t meddle itself or get involved in” the Israel-Palestine peace process.
- This article was amended to clarify that Vicente Fox did not directly precede Mexico’s current leader, Enrique Peña Nieto