The White House comment line usually open to the public has reportedly been closed now for several weeks.
Addicting Info was the first to report the news, and intimated that the Trump administration had dismantled the line and banned people from calling in.
With the line closed, the automated reply callers got instead was to send a message via Facebook Messenger to the President. In an unfortunate twist, the Facebook Messenger feature mentioned didn’t exist. Rumors swirled, there were jokes about the “no comment” situation, and op-ed articles were written.
(If you want to hear the White House comment line recording yourself, you can call 202-456-1111.)
Activists even made a tool you can use to call the main switchboard of a random Trump hotel anywhere in the world to voice your frustrations and thoughts.
Called White House Inc., the site encourages you to “pour yourself a little Trump vodka and call White House Inc. today!”.
After entering your phone number and email address the site says you’ll be called and then connected to a random Trump property. A Trump property is referred to on the site as a “satellite White House” (insinuating that the President needs to divest himself from his other businesses).
The site even offers suggested topics for discussion, which are political hot-button items perhaps not best discussed with a receptionist after some vodka!
If you use the site you’ll likely get connected to the operator at a hotel like the Trump International Hotel Las Vegas who will be more familiar with calls asking where to find sunscreen or which hotels still have free parking in Vegas, rather than be prepared for rantings about wall-building or the intricacies of immigration law.
Snopes verified that the White House comment line has been down for several weeks. The Washington Press got the fact correct that the line was shut down a week prior to Trump taking office though, rather than the arguably more popular cry that it was shut down after Trump was President.
Snopes went on to say that the recorded message for folks to send comments via Facebook wasn’t a purposeful dead-end, but simply that President Obama’s White House Facebook account had the Facebook Messenger feature installed, while the current President’s does not.
The White House public comment line is typically manned by volunteers recruited by the current administration. Occasionally the lines get jammed by protest calls, reactions to world events, or healthcare related issues, but overall the line keeps humming along.
Even though the comment line closure is probably a simple oversight during the administration switch-over, it is unfortunate that the line is still down. I’m sure this isn’t the last we’ll hear of it either, and would expect Jimmy Kimmel or another talk show host or comedian to use this as fodder.
Remember the Hillary Clinton 3am ad? If not, here it is via Youtube –
Some people say they thought at least someone would be answering the phone…