Speed Reads


Gary Johnson says he will focus on attacking Hillary Clinton, concedes he won't win election

On Tuesday, Libertarian vice presidential nominee William Weld dropped something of a bombshell, telling The Boston Globe that he will focus his energies on defeating Donald Trump — in effect, helping Hillary Clinton. His running mate, Gary Johnson, told The New York Times on Tuesday that since he won't be in the debates, he won't win — but he's going to keep on fighting until Nov. 8. Defeating Trump "may be his primary mission," Johnson said of Weld. "We're not scripted at all. And so I guess my role will be Hillary and his role will be Donald Trump."

Johnson made good on that plan immediately, blaming Clinton for the mess in Syria. "Because Hillary Clinton can dot the i's and cross the t's on geographic leaders, of the names of foreign leaders," he told the Times, "the underlying fact that hundreds of thousands of people have died in Syria goes by the wayside." Clinton, he added, "bears responsibility for what's happened, shared responsibility for what's happened in Syria. I would not have put us in that situation from the get-go."

Johnson did not say how he would have handled President Bashar al-Assad's brutal crackdown on protests in his country, but he made clear that he holds Assad's airstrikes and shelling of civilians and hospitals in Aleppo and elsewhere as morally equivalent to U.S. bombings. "Well no, of course not — we're so much better than all that," Johnson said in a voice the Times described as sarcastic. "We're so much better when in Afghanistan, we bomb the hospital and 60 people are killed in the hospital."

While he blamed Clinton for Aleppo, Johnson was careful not to have his own third "Aleppo moment," as the Times got cute:

Asked if he knew the name of North Korea's leader, Mr. Johnson replied, "I do." "You want me to name" the person, he said, then paused, before adding dryly, "Really." But he declined to supply the name. [The New York Times]

Johnson is in the high-single-digits in most polls, and he performs especially well among the millennial voters Clinton needs to win. His Aleppo moments don't seem to be helping him with that cohort, according to The Washington Post's David Weigel:

Though maybe "ill-informed" and "uneducated" aren't deal-breakers this election.