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Wednesday night, as President Trump made his way to Wisconsin and then Washington, D.C. following a rally in North Dakota, he returned a phone call from Democratic New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez. For several minutes, the two lawmakers discussed Trump’s abusive child separation policy, as well as his plans to fill Justice Anthony Kennedy’s soon-to-be-vacant seat on the Supreme Court.
Such conversations are, for good reason, private. And yet, you can listen to the entire exchange below for yourself. Why? Because the president of the United States, using state-of-the-art military equipment aboard the most secure airplane in the known universe, instead returned the phone call of a prankster with a podcast.
John Melendez — better known as “Stuttering John” to longtime fans of The Howard Stern Show, where he worked in various on and off-air capacities for more than 15 years — decided he would try to get Trump on the phone during a recent episode of his new podcast. As you might expect from a 90’s-era shock jock based in New York City, Melendez has a history with the Trump family, and recounted past instances of phoning the self-proclaimed billionaire for casual chitchat.
After a series of conversations with various White House phone operators and support staff — first using his own name, then using pseudonyms like John Sterling (the New York Yankees’ radio play-by-play guy) and Sean Moore (a portmanteau of Sean Connery and Roger Moore) to pose as an aide from Sen. Menendez’s office — Melendez got through to a staff member, who informed him that Trump was in the middle of giving a speech, but would call back afterward.
After hanging up, Melendez was giddy he had gotten even that far without getting his cover blown. And in most White Houses, which employ a staff competent enough to Google the names of a U.S. senator’s office staff, that’s where the story might have ended.
WH has been scrambling this morning to figure out how this happened. https://t.co/OnLDLmUK7t
— Annie Karni (@anniekarni) June 29, 2018
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