Hours after Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson stumbled through a question about Aleppo—a gaffe that drew national attention—his running mate William Weld defended him in a scheduled Q&A on campus with reporters and Emerson College students.
When Johnson was asked on the Sept. 8 episode of MSNBC’s Morning Joe about how he would address the crisis facing Aleppo, a besieged city in Syria, Johnson said “And what is Aleppo?” Christina Le, a senior political communications major, said many at the Q&A asked Weld about his running mate’s comment, forcing him to respond.
Geoffrey Morrissey, a freshman communication studies major, said Weld defended himself by asking those present about cities across the world in crisis similar to Aleppo’s. He also cited an interview with former president George W. Bush, in which Bush could only name the leader of one of four foreign nations mentioned by the interviewer.
Weld’s visit to the Tufte Performance and Production Center, organized by the communications studies department, was a follow-up to an appearance he made at the college with Johnson in August prior to a rally held on Boston Common.
Gregory Payne, department of communications chair, set up the event so students could ask Weld questions before invited members of the press. He said that this strategy would provide students with opportunities to dive headfirst into the world of political coverage.
“We want to provide [students] with an upfront approach to what it’s going to be like to cover a candidate,” Payne said.