Election 2020

Johnson: Politicians Who 'Can Dot the I's and Cross the T's' on Foreign Affairs are Overrated

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson speaks during a rally Oct. 3, 2016, in Parker, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson explained today that he was unable to name a world leader he admired because he’s hard-pressed to find a domestic politician he admires.

Johnson was asked last week during a town hall forum on MSNBC to “name one foreign leader that you respect and look up to, anybody.”

As the former New Mexico governor mulled the question, his running mater, former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld, interjected Shimon Peres. Finally, Johnson said, “I guess I’m having an Aleppo moment … the former president of Mexico.”

Johnson didn’t know what Aleppo was when asked recently about the battered Syrian city.

Johnson later confirmed he was thinking about former Mexican President Vicente Fox, and Weld later added that he likes German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Today on MSNBC, Johnson said he “still can’t think of a world leader that I respect.”

“I mean, having never been involved in politics before, I will tell you that I held a lot of people in this country on pedestals thinking that they were role models. I got to meet them up front and personal and found out that they were empty suits, that they weren’t about issues, they weren’t about doing what was best. They were about getting re-elected,” he said.

“So when it comes to talking about a foreign leader that you respect, that you admire, I have a hard time with that one. That’s politics. That’s just who I am. So now I’m going to have to pick out a world leader? And there’s going to be something that’s wrong with them, and now I’m going to have to defend them? Well, maybe I think too much.”

Johnson steered the discussion from “the fact that somebody can dot the I’s and cross the T’s on a foreign leader or a geographic location then allows them to put our military in harm’s way” to politicians who “put our military in this horrible situation where we go in and support regime change.”

“They get involved in civil wars where hundreds of thousands of innocent people are in a crossfire. We’re literally shooting at ourselves because we support both sides of conflicts, Syria as an example, and we wonder why our men and service women suffer from PTSD in the first place,” he said. “It’s because we elect people who can dot the I’s and cross the T’s on these names and geographic locations as opposed to the underlying philosophy, which is, let’s stop getting involved in these regime changes.”

Asked if he support intervention in cases of genocide, Johnson replied that if “we are attacked, we’re going to attack back.”

“We always go in because there are atrocities being committed. Genocide being committed. These are horrible situations. But I can’t think of one example where we get involved where we make that horrible situation any better. In most cases, we make things worse,” he said.