Donald Trump spoke with a comedian about his controversial immigration policy and his pick for Supreme Court Justice while aboard Air Force One on Wednesday. The comedian was pretending to be Democratic Senator Bob Menendez
The alleged communication raises questions about the soundness in regard to the security clearances process, and how a prankster could get through to Air Force One and have a direct audience with the president.
John Melendez, who is also known as Stuttering John and frequently appears on The Howard Stern Show, says he was able to reach the president by claiming he was New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez.
He was also able to speak to a number of other people in the administration as his call was passed along, including President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.
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Melendez had a past relationship with Trump dating back more than 25 years stemming from his time on The Howard Stern Show, a program Trump frequently appeared on as a guest.
He initially called the White House switchboard while recording his podcast Wednesday and identified himself, but was unable to get through.
Melendez said he subsequently called the switchboard back, affecting an accent and claiming to be the senator’s assistant.
The operator believed him and transferred him to a subordinate who told him that the president was unavailable because he was giving a speech at the time.
Melendez said he gave him his cell phone number, which had a Southern California prefix. When a White House operator noted how the information he provided did not match up with the information the White House had for the senator, Melendez explained it by saying that he was on vacation.
Melendez said he was then contacted by a series of presidential subordinates – including Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner – before the 45th president picked up the phone.
Melendez said afterward of the unlikely exchange that he was trying to do a comedy bit and did not expect to be put through.