The White House is scrambling to figure out how a prank call from a comedian who pretended to be Sen. Robert Menendez managed to get a return phone call from the president, a person inside the White House said Friday, POLITICO reports.
The person inside the White House said the call was routed to the president by the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner and that it was not routed through the office of legislative affairs, which had no record of Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, trying to connect with the president.
And while legislative affairs got notified of the call and subsequently tried to kill it after learning from Menendez’s chief of staff that the senator was not trying to reach Trump, the call was still put through, the person said.
A recording of what appears to be the president’s voice talking to who he seemingly believes to be Menendez can be heard on the podcast of John Melendez, also known as Stuttering John, a regular guest on shock jock Howard Stern’s radio show. Using a British accent and posing as Menendez’s assistant Sean Moore, a name he invented from James Bond actors Sean Connery and Roger Moore, Melendez first called the White House switchboard, which said it could not reach Trump because he was delivering a speech in North Dakota at the time.
Later, Melendez said Kushner called him back, after which he said he and a friend, who posed as the New Jersey senator, were put on the phone with the president.
“Hi, Bob. How are you? Congratulations on everything, we’re proud of you,” the voice that appears to be Trump’s says after coming on the line. “Congratulations, great job. You went through a tough, tough situation, and I don’t think a very fair situation, but congratulations.”
Melendez’s friend then asks about immigration and the separation of families who cross the border illegally, to which the voice on the other end of the phone responds that “I want to be able to take care of the situation every bit as much as anybody else at the top level” but that “I’d like to do the larger solution rather than the smaller solution.”
The two also discussed the soon-to-be-vacated Supreme Court seat of Justice Anthony Kennedy, with the Trump-sounding voice saying that he plans to select a replacement nominee over the next two weeks. Read more at POLITICO.