"I welcome any opportunity to have a real conversation with the president" on immigration, said Sen. Robert Menendez on Friday. The real Sen. Robert Menendez. A comedian pretending to be the New Jersey Democrat's assistant tried to place a call to President Trump on Wednesday and says he ultimately got through. Now the White House is "scrambling" to figure out how it happened, as Politico puts it. It reports John Melendez, nicknamed Stuttering John and a regular on Howard Stern’s radio show, donned a British accent, said his name was Sean Moore (an amalgamation of James Bond actors Sean Connery and Roger Moore) and phoned the White House switchboard on Menendez's behalf. He was told the president was in North Dakota to give a speech. Melendez was insistent.
The New York Times has the subsequent play-by-play, which apparently included the White House operator phoning Melendez to "confirm" his identity and inquire why he was calling from a California area code (vacation, he said). Melendez says Jared Kushner subsequently called him to arrange a time and discuss the topic at hand, and that he was ultimately connected to the president, who was aboard Air Force One. This six-minute recording, which the White House hasn't verified as authentic, resulted. The call touched on immigration and Anthony Kennedy's Supreme Court seat. "Donald picks up the phone and I started talking to the President. I never said to Donald that I was Sen. Menendez. I was just talking in my Long Island accent," Melendez tells CNN. "I just could not believe that it took us an hour and a half to get Jared Kushner and Donald Trump on the phone." (Read more prank call stories.)