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President Trump got prank called. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The host of "The Stuttering John" podcast, John Melendez, got President Trump on the phone yesterday by pretending he was New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez. "This is how easy it is to infiltrate the administration," Melendez said in the episode.

Why it matters: This calls into question White House security. White House staff members are freaking out today trying to figure out how the podcast host was so easily transferred from the White House switchboard to Air Force One, per a source familiar with the call.

The whole thing is ridiculous. Melendez, the host, had three different interactions with two White House operators and got through two call screens before Jared Kushner called him from Air Force One. According to Melendez, Kushner asked if he wanted to talk to the president then or have them call him back later, which is what he did.

The details: When the White House operator calls back, he says: "Hello is this Sen. Menendez?" and then "Hello is this Air Force One?"

  • President Trump picked up the phone congratulating who he thought was Sen. Menendez and telling him he "went through a very tough situation."
  • He also talked about immigration. "Bob, let me just tell you I want to be able to take care of the situation every bit as much as anybody else at the top level. I'd rather do the larger solution rather than the smaller solution."
  • He said the North Dakota Senate race is "a tough race."
  • Regarding his SCOTUS nominee, he said they'll be done making a decision in 12 to 14 days.

The White House didn't respond to requests for comment. In a statement to Axios, Sen. Bob Menendez said he welcomes “any opportunity to have a real conversation with the president" about this immigration reform.

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Go deeper

21 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Democrats propose raising debt ceiling through midterms

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

House and Senate leadership announced on Monday that they plan to attach a proposal to raise the debt ceiling through Dec. 2022 to a short-term, government funding bill. The bill must pass before the end of the month or Congress risks a shutdown.

Why it matters: Democrats are taking a huge risk by trying to force through an increase of the debt limit in its must-pass funding bill. The move is wishful thinking on behalf of Democrats who are hoping they can get at least 10 centrist Republicans to balk, as well as an effort to put Republicans on record opposing it.

Biden to stress U.S. does not seek new Cold War in UN speech

Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

President Biden will use his first address before the UN General Assembly to lay out his vision for an era of "intensive diplomacy" with allies and "vigorous competition" with great powers — without a Cold War with China.

Why it matters: Biden will take the podium in New York on Tuesday with his own international credibility in question after the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan. His administration also is struggling to build international momentum to fight climate change, the pandemic and rising global authoritarianism.

6 hours ago - Health

Biden administration to lift travel ban for fully vaccinated international travelers

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients announced on Monday that the Biden administration will allow fully vaccinated travelers from around the world to enter the U.S. beginning in November.

Why it matters: The announcement comes as President Biden seeks commitments from countries to donate vaccines to the global COVAX initiative. He is expected to host a COVID summit on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly this week, and many of the countries attending have expressed frustration with the travel ban.