Pranksters call the White House and end up on the phone with President Trump

Trump on phone.
(Image credit: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

What began as a prank call to the White House on comedian John Melendez's Stuttering John Podcast quickly developed into a distressing lesson on just how easy it is to fool the Trump administration. By the end of the podcast, the jokesters — who had been impersonating a made-up British assistant named "Sean Moore" and New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez (D) — actually received a phone call back from the president while he was on Air Force One. While it seems almost too good to be true, Politico's Annie Karni confirms that the White House "has been scrambling this morning to figure out how this happened."

Melendez is best known for his work on The Howard Stern Show and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and he has met with President Trump as a result a number of times over the years. After failing to get through to Trump on Wednesday while recording his podcast, Melendez called the White House switchboard back claiming instead to be Menendez's British assistant. The operator told "the senator's assistant" that Trump was busy giving a speech, so Melendez gave him his cell phone number for a return call. While the Southern California area code raised suspicions, Melendez explained it away by claiming he was on vacation — and was subsequently cleared by a number of White House aides, including senior adviser Jared Kushner.

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Jeva Lange

Jeva Lange was the executive editor at She formerly served as The Week's deputy editor and culture critic. She is also a contributor to Screen Slate, and her writing has appeared in The New York Daily News, The Awl, Vice, and Gothamist, among other publications. Jeva lives in New York City. Follow her on Twitter.