In one of the more bizarre stories of the week, a prank caller appears to have managed to get on the phone with President Donald Trump through a White House phone and at least one person inside 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is blaming the debacle on the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
On his podcast — titled “The Stuttering John Podcast” — comedian John Melendez called in to the White House posing as the chief of staff for Sen. Robert Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey. Melendez uses the alias “Sean Moore” on the call — which should be an obvious red flag as Sen. Menendez chief of staff is named Fred Turner.
After a brief encounter with a White House operator, Melendez and a guest are put on hold and crack jokes to each other. All while Trump’s staff are working to track down the commander-in-chief. Unbelievably, Trump’s team actually calls Melendez back and the president is patched through.
You can listen to the podcast below, the call with President Trump starts at about 1:10:00:
In his conversation, Melendez asks Trump about the immigration debate that’s ongoing in the country, saying “I think we can do a real immigration bill. We have to have security at the border, we have to have it.” He also asks Trump about the Supreme Court vacancy, saying “I will promise you, you will have my vote if you don’t go too conservative.”
At one point in the call, Trump says that he is on Air Force One, flying back from a rally in North Dakota, which would mean that the conversation occurred on Wednesday night.
I enjoyed talking with Jared Kushner & Donald Trump on my Podcast. Check it out.
— John Melendez (@stutteringjohnm) June 28, 2018
The White House is reportedly scrambling to contain the damage of the slip-up and Sen. Menendez’s office has not commented on the call. Speaking to Politico, a source inside the White House blamed the debacle on Jared Kushner. Under the normal protocol, a call to the president from a Senator would be routed through the office of legislative affairs.
The authenticity of the call is still unverified and the White House has not officially commented on the conversation.