Former Howard Stern sideman John Melendez managed to get President Trump on the phone by posing as New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez.
Best known for his “Stuttering John” moniker and appearances on Stern’s radio show, Melendez claims he prank-called Trump on Air Force One Wednesday night. He released the remarkable recording of his four-minute phone call with Trump on his namesake podcast Thursday night.
The 52-year-old comic got the President to talk about his administration’s widely reviled “zero-tolerance” policy on immigration, which has caused the forced separation of thousands of children from their undocumented parents at the country’s southern border.
Melendez told The NYDaily News he got through to Trump after calling the White House switchboard and putting on a “ridiculous” British accent while pretending to be Menendez’s secretary.
He was transferred to a White House aide who said Trump couldn’t talk because he was at a rally in North Dakota.
Melendez said he gave his California cell phone number to the aide and asked for a callback. The aide noted the number didn’t match records the White House had of the New Jersey senator’s contact information, but Melendez got around that by claiming he was on vacation.
The phone call raises a number of questions about the administration’s security screening procedures.
A White House official confirmed the prank call in an unusual admission of error.
“The President wants to be accessible to members and likes engaging them and wants them to have the opportunity to connect,” the official told CNN. “The downside of that is sometimes the channels are open too widely and mistakes like this happen.”