President Donald Trump appears to have been on the receiving end of a prank phone call from comedian John Melendez, while aboard Air Force One.
Melendez, host of “The Stuttering John Podcast” and a frequent guest on Howard Stern’s radio show, impersonated Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey on the call, which wound up going through the White House’s switchboard.
Melendez was eventually transferred to the president’s line aboard Air Force One by Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kusher, according to Politico. The call was patched through to Trump, despite Sen. Menendez’s chief of staff telling the legislative office that the real Menendez was not trying to call Trump.
During the call, a voice resembling Trump’s congratulated the comedian, whom he didn’t appear to know was impersonating the senator. Menendez had been facing corruption charges until federal prosecutors dropped them earlier this year. Those charges stemmed from accusations that Menendez was taking favors from Salomon Melgen, a Florida eye doctor, in exchange for trips on private jets, luxury hotel visits, and campaign contributions.
During the prank call, comedian Melendez also appeared to press Trump on the upcoming vacancy on the Supreme Court bench. Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement earlier this week.
TRUMP: Hi Bob.
MELENDEZ: Hey, how are you?
TRUMP: How are you? Congratulations on everything, we’re proud of you. Congratulations, great job. You went through a tough, tough situation and I don’t think a very fair situation, but congratulations.
MELENDEZ: Thank you so much, and, you know, I’m sorry to bother you Mr. President, but obviously my constituents are giving me a lot of beans about this immigration thing. I know that you did something very noble, by trying to change back with their families, but I have to answer to them. What can I tell them you’re going to do in moving forward?
TRUMP: Bob, let me just tell you, I want to be able to take care of this situation every bit as much as anybody else . It’s at top level. I’d like to do the larger solution rather than the smaller solution. You know, they’re doing them step-by-step. I think we can do the whole thing. You know, I have a good relationship with the party, you have a good relationship with the party. And I think we can do a real immigration bill. We have to have security at the border, we have to have it. I mean, look, you got 60% of the country [saying] you got to have security at the border. And that’s a good issue for the Democrats too, Bob. It’s not like it’s good for you or good for me. It’s good for both of us.
MELENDEZ: No, I understand that. No, but I am Hispanic, so I have to … I’m sure you understand.
TRUMP: Oh I understand.
MELENDEZ: You know, I have to look into my people as well. You understand.
TRUMP: I agree, I agree. So Bob, let me do this. I’m on Air Force One. I’m just coming back, we’re at an amazing rally in North Dakota, actually.
MELENDEZ: Yeah, I saw the speech. I saw the speech.
TRUMP: … You know, it’s a tough break.
MELENDEZ: No, I saw the speech. And I thought it was a great speech, but if I can just ask you one more thing. You know, Mr. President, as far as the new Justice, I’m sure you’ve heard, I’m sure you know that Justice Kennedy is retiring. And you know, Justice Kennedy was a Reagan appointee. I’m begging you, are you going to go more moderate, or are thinking you’re going to go more conservative?
TRUMP: Well, I haven’t looked, I mean I have a list of people. I have a big list of people, Bob, and we’ll take a look at it. And we’re going to make a decision. I’ll probably make it over the next couple of weeks.
MELENDEZ: Because I promise you, you will have my vote. I will help you if you don’t go too, too conservative. You know what I’m saying?
TRUMP: Yeah. Well, we will talk to you about it. We’re going to probably make a decision, Bob, over the next two weeks. We have some great choices. And be done over the next 12 to 14 days.
MELENDEZ: Alright. Well, please, you know, keep me informed. And good luck on your trip. And thank you so much for taking my call.
TRUMP: You take care, I will speak to you soon, Bob. Take care of yourself.
MELENDEZ: Alright thanks. Thanks, Mr. President.
TRUMP: Thank you, Bob. I’ll talk to you soon. Bye.
MELENDEZ: Alright, baba-booey to you.