Bill Weld Visits Emerson Following Johnson’s ‘What Is Aleppo?’ Interview

He'll have to defend his running mate after an epic on-air gaffe.


Photo via AP

Update 6 p.m.: Bill Weld defended his running mate Gary Johnson’s mistake on Thursday, calling it “not so bad.”

Johnson, meanwhile, released a statement attempting to explain the misstep, saying he mistakenly believed he was being asked about an acronym.

Earlier: Just hours after his running mate unleashed a train wreck of a gaffe on live television, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld plans to address Emerson College students today.

Weld plans to make the case for why Libertarians should be included in general election debates alongside Democrats and Republicans, the State House News Service reports.

The Boston speech comes as pressure mounts for the Johnson-Weld ticket to poll high enough to earn a spot on the debate stage. They would need support from 15 percent of voters for Johnson to debate Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump (right now their voter share hovers around 9 or 10 percent). There are three debates planned between now and the November election, the first of which is Sept. 26 at Hofstra University.

So, bad timing then, for this:

This clip of Johnson looking befuddled Thursday morning when asked about Aleppo, the Syrian city, during an appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe has been circulated widely.

“And what is Aleppo?” Johnson asked—four words likely to haunt his campaign at least in the near term. The word “Aleppo” was trending on Twitter by mid-morning.

Weld is scheduled to speak at 2 p.m. at the school’s Tufte Building, Room 1114.

He’ll also speak to media at 2:45 p.m., according to the campaign’s website. Expect lots of questions about Johnson’s fitness for the debate stage.

Johnson, meanwhile, has said since his disastrous morning interview that he feels “horrible” about it.

“I’m really frustrated with myself,” he said in an interview with Mark Halperin posted to YouTube. “I have to get smarter and that’s just part of the process.”

Asked whether he’d heard from Weld about the on-air event, he didn’t say.