Better than anyone else in politics, President Donald Trump knows how to troll his opponents.
Following the government shutdown, the Trump administration changed the outgoing voicemail message for all public calls to the White House. The message now informs callers that the Democrats are to blame for the shutdown and slams them for holding military members' salaries "hostage," among other ills.
“Thank you for calling the White House,” says the message. “Unfortunately, we cannot answer your call today. Congressional Democrats are holding government funding, including funding for our troops and other national security priorities, hostage to an unrelated immigration debate. Due to this obstruction, the government is shut down. In the meantime, you can leave a comment at http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact. We look forward to taking your calls as soon as the government reopens.”
The White House has also issued a statement to frame the debate, blaming Democrats, and Sen. Chuck Schumer in particular, for the shutdown.
Democratic allies in the media have already accused the Trump administration of violating the Hatch Act — a federal law passed in 1939 that "limits certain political activities of federal employees, as well as some state, D.C., and local government employees who work in connection with federally funded programs" — over the message.
“President Trump is deploying federal resources for pure partisan politics in violation of the spirit of the Hatch Act,” complained American Civil Liberties Union national political director Faiz Shakir. “More importantly, it sends a signal to the government that rules don’t matter—not in this administration.”
Check out the message yourself by calling 202-456-1111.