The former "Howard Stern Show" personality spills on "ineptitude" of the White House's screening staff and also slams the Democratic senator he impersonated.
Comedian and former "Howard Stern Show" personality "Stuttering John" Melendez reportedly convinced President Trump to call him back by claiming to be Senator Bob Menendez. But how did he pull it off?
Even Melendez isn't sure, and he's a little concerned at how easy it was for him to gain access to the Commander in Chief. "If it was that easy to dupe him, there's every chance in the world Putin duped him," Melendez told The Huffington Post over the weekend.
And Donald Trump was't the only one he fooled, as he started off the whole thing by simply calling the White House. Melendez broke his impromptu prank down for The Hollywood Reporter, expressing shock at how easily he was able to circumvent whatever screening process they have at the White House. He even spoke briefly with Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, before the president reportedly called him back directly from Air Force One.
"I think I did Donald Trump a service by exposing how inadequate his screening staff is," Melendez said. "And if Jared Kushner was not married to his daughter, he'd be gone."
According to the comedian, the Secret Service came to his door later that same day, but he refused to answer. Melendez chronicled all of this via his Twitter feed, at one point tweeting, "Secret service about to arrest me. Unbelievable! They should arrest Jared Kushner for putting the call through, shame on Donald Trump who has been a friend of mine for years."
After touching base with a couple of attorneys, including Stormy Daniels' lawyer Michael Avenatti, Melendez felt more secure in his freedom. "They say it's a very, very hard case for them to win," he told THR. "First of all, I'm protected under the First Amendment, I'm a comedian, and this is a comedy bit. Secondly, when the president gets on the phone, I don't say anything, and I didn't make any money from the call, there was no harm done, there was no harmful thing said that could be construed as something inflammatory or whatever."
Melendez first tried to reach Trump as himself. But when that didn't work, his producer suggested calling as Sen. Bob Menendez. "So I call back with the worst English accent known to man and say, 'Hello this is Shawn Moore calling from the Senator Bob Menendez.' And they said, 'What?' And I said, 'Sean as in Connery, Moore as in Roger, I'm a big Bond fan.'"
Certain that they would see the prank for what it was at this point, Melendez was surprised they still took him seriously. The White House staff did question his area code, but Melendez was able to circumvent that by saying the Senator was on vacation. "That shows the ineptitude of their screening staff: I'm saying I'm on holiday and they're buying that as an excuse, like as if your cell phone area code changes in whatever state you're in."
Later that day Melendez got a phone call first from Kushner asking why he wanted to talk to Trump. He made up some answer about talking immigration and shortly thereafter he was on the phone with Trump. When asked how he knew it was him, Melendez told THR, "I have hung out with Donald Trump on so many occasions that I know his voice. If you listen to the phone call, I don't think there's a doubt in anybody's mind that that's Donald Trump."
Since he had him on the phone, Melendez decided to take advantage of the opportunity. "I talked to him about immigration, I say, 'I'm very concerned about these kids, I want them all back with their parents.' And then he gives me his stump-speech answer."
"And then I go, 'But also, Donald, as you know, Supreme Court Justice Kennedy is stepping down, I really want you to pick a moderate.' ... I think we need balance in the Supreme Court. ... He said, 'We have big people we're going to choose from,' like dumb Donald talk. According to language analysts, he speaks like a fourth grader. So he says, 'We have big choices, it's all going to come out in two weeks.' And that was it. I said, 'Thanks, Donald for the call.'"
While Melendez is a liberal and opposes much of what the Trump administration is doing, he did have to give the president props for one thing. "He did at least have a conversation with who he thought was a Democratic senator," Melendez said. "Senator Bob Menendez has recently said, 'I wish I could have a conversation with Donald Trump about immigration.'"
"But here's my thing," Melendez continued. "Why doesn't Senator Mendendez just pick up the phone like I did? It sends a very sad note about why Washington is so dysfunctional. They could have a conversation, they could find a middle ground if they just talked to each other."