After several foreign affairs gaffes, Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson sidestepped an opportunity to somewhat redeem himself and demonstrate that he’s knowledgeable about the world.
In an interview on Wednesday, the New York Times asked Johnson, a former governor of New Mexico, if he knew the name of North Korea’s leader.
“I do,” the third-party candidate replied.
“You want me to name” the person, he continued, before adding, “Really.” Johnson ultimately declined to provide a name.
The current “supreme leader” of North Korea is Kim Jong Un, who succeeded his father, Kim Jong Il, in 2011.
Johnson’s inability or refusal to name Kim follows several slip-ups when pressed on knowledge of international relations.
In early September, Johnson was widely ridiculed after drawing a blank on “Morning Joe” when asked about Aleppo, the most populous city in Syria and the epicenter of the ongoing refugee crisis.
Johnson recently failed to provide the name of a foreign leader whom he admires during an appearance on MSNBC. He subsequently attributed this to the shortcomings of the world’s leaders.
It’s been almost 24 hours…and I still can’t come up with a foreign leader I look up to.
— Gov. Gary Johnson (@GovGaryJohnson) September 29, 2016
Undeterred, Johnson has insisted that an extensive knowledge of geography or world leaders is not a prerequisite to being a successful commander in chief. In fact, he has suggested that his ignorance could actually be a boon to the Oval Office.
In his Times interview, Johnson said Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton bears a burden of responsibility for some of the bloodshed in Syria and that her expertise about the world does not reduce this.
“Because Hillary Clinton can dot the i’s and cross the t’s on geographic leaders, of the names of foreign leaders,” he said, “the underlying fact that hundreds of thousands of people have died in Syria goes by the wayside.”
Despite these embarrassing moments, Johnson has attracted a good deal of attention in the current White House race. Several major newspapers, such as the Chicago Tribune and the Richmond Times-Dispatch, have endorsed Johnson as a sound alternative to Clinton and Republican candidate Donald Trump.