The President of the United States, one of the most protected people on the planet and the least accessible to the public, appears to be a long-term target for a prank caller who wishes to have some fun.
But President Trump, who likes to make his own phone calls and prefers spontaneity, is a different race. On Wednesday, when a radio shock and a comedian called the White House Bureau to announce the assistant to a US Senator, he found himself patched up with Mr. Trump via Air Force between barely suppressed giggles and unusual jokes with his producer
] The result was an impromptu six-minute conversation on immigration and the Supreme Court between the president and the radio host and comedian John Melendez, known to his listeners as "Stuttering John."
"Congratulations on everything – we are proud of you" Mr. Trump said in greeting, obviously on the actual acquittal of Mr. Menendez for corruption allegations and a later decision of the Ministry of Justice to pursue no further. "They've been through a tough, difficult situation and I do not think it's a very fair situation."
He actually spoke to Mr. Melendez, who called the White House switchboard, had a British accent, and identified himself as Sean Moore ("SEAN, as in Sean Connery, and Moore, as in Roger Moore"), an adviser to Mr. Menendez, who, he claimed, urgently needed to speak to Mr. Trump.
White House officials did not respond on Friday to requests for comment on how the joker was allowed to get through to the presidency. But Mr. Melendez's Profanessed podcast shows that the process was surprisingly easy.
The White House operator may be heard telling Mr. Melendez that the president in Fargo, N.D., is and is not available. But when Mr. Melendez insisted that Mr. Trump said he was talking to Mr. Menendez, the operator reluctantly said she would try to join him.
"I do not know how I should go about this," the operator said with a heavy sigh. She suggested that she contact Mr. Trump's assistant, but then she decided to send the call "by signal," an allusion to the White House Communications Agency, originally known as the White House Signal Corps wherever he goes.
The next audible voice is the Signal Officer, who can be heard telling Mr. Melendez that the President should be on stage at his rally in Fargo and call back. Mr. Trump, a citizen, often called Howard Stern 's dishonest radio program – the same thing, stammering John, Mr. Stern's buddy in the series for more than 15 years, made himself famous – and fussing around with salty banter. But Mr. Melendez was visibly shocked by the President's willingness to accept his call in this case.
"I do not think they'll call me," Mr. Melendez once told his producer while waiting for Mr. Trump's call.
The White House operator once called Mr. Melendez back to verify he was the one he said asked if he was calling from a cell phone and why it appeared to come from a California area code. When Mr. Moore, the senator's adviser, called, Mr. Melendez said he was on vacation.
Later, Mr. Melendez said that he had received a call from Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and senior advisor, callback time for him and the president and asked which topic he would like to address with Mr. Trump.
When a mobile communications officer called back and called Mr. Trump, Mr. Melendez played the senator's role, though his voice did not sound the same as Mr. Menendez's. But he raged on as he got Mr. Trump into a discussion on what to say to his constituents in New Jersey about the Trump government's immigration policy, which led to the separation of migrant families on the southwestern border.
Tell them you will make progress? Mr. Melendez asked.
Mr. Trump responded, as he had previously, that he would pass a broad immigration bill, which he said would be good for both parties.
"I would like to make the bigger solution, instead of the smaller solution. "Mr. Trump said," We have to have security at the border – we have to have that. "
"I have a large list of people, Bob, and we'll take a look," Trump replied, adding that he hopes in 12 to 14 days On Friday, he publicly confirmed this timetable and told reporters that he would expect an announcement on July 9.
The coup was not released until Thursday afternoon after Mr. Melendez got the message posted on Twitter . "Sign up in my new podcast where I call the President and he calls me from Air Force One!" Mr. Melendez wrote. A short time later he tweeted the sound. None of the tweets got much traction first, which frustrated Mr. Melendez.
"I find it astounding that the news media did not snatch the fact that I totally overreached the president in less than two hours while he was in the Air Force," Mr. Melendez wrote Thursday night .
The Daily Mail finally noticed on Friday, quickly followed by Buzzfeed News, and soon enough the story had produced a Chyron on CNN : "Who is calling?