Gary Johnson: Naming Foreign Leaders Doesn’t Qualify Someone for Presidency

A fired up Gary Johnson, who has recently suffered from two notable memory lapses, made the case Friday that simply knowing geography and the names of world leaders does not qualify a candidate to run the nation’s foreign policy.

“Because you can dot i’s and cross the t’s on names of foreign leaders and geographic locations, then that qualifies you to put the military in a situation where the military is dying. We’ve got military personnel that are dying,” the Libertarian presidential candidate said at the University of Chicago.

Johnson has benefitted from a 2016 presidential race featuring two highly unpopular major party candidates. But some of his momentum was stymied when he said in an interview that he did not know what the Syrian city of Aleppo is and then, during a town hall event weeks later, could not name a foreign leader he admires.

“So if that’s the qualification to be president, dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s on the names of foreign leaders and geographic locations, and because that’s the quality that you half to possess, we’ll just count on the military policies of this country continuing,” the former New Mexico governor said.

Johnson added that he still cannot name a foreign leader he likes two weeks after initially being posed the question.

The speech was aimed at directly addressing the concerns potential supporters had after Johnson’s slip-ups. He outlined a largely isolationist foreign policy and called for cuts in military spending.

“It is difficult, if not impossible, to identify an instance where our military interventions and regime changes in the past 15 years have improved the lives of anyone,” Johnson said.

He said the U.S. must combat terrorism by cutting funding to ISIS and that troops on the ground and "dropping bombs on the other side of the globe."

Johnson did, however, say the U.S. must be “hand-in-hand with Russia diplomatically” in Syria.