White House government shutdown away message is a political attack on Democrats

White House government shutdown away message is a political attack on Democrats 1

Image: Getty Images/Gallo Images

By Adam Rosenberg

Donald Trump’s White House sunk to a new level of petty on Saturday, as the United States government shutdown.

Callers dialing into the publicly available White House comments line — at 202.456.1111 — are greeted with a recorded away message. An unrecognizable female voice politely explains that the government is shut down because Democrats are holding it “hostage.”

Listen for yourself. This is a recording we captured ourselves when dialing the White House comment line shortly after 6:00 p.m. ET on Saturday.

“Unfortunately, we cannot answer your call today because Congressional Democrats are holding government funding — including funding for our troops and other national security priorities — hostage to an unrelated immigration debate,” the recording states.

“Due to this obstruction, the government is shut down.”

It’s not clear if this message is even legal, since it’s a case of the White House using one of the government’s public information channels — in this case, the phone line citizens use to call in and leave comments — to attack political opponents.

One thing is clear, however, based on the public’s response on social media: This continued antagonism toward Congressional Democrats isn’t going to bring about a constructive end to the shutdown.

Called the White House only for them to say they can’t answer the phone b/c the government is shut down, blaming Democrats for it & saying the immigration issue isn’t relevant. How inept is that? The Republicans own the house & led by a leader that is incapable running a country pic.twitter.com/QU7J3LBZpD

— Terrence Robinson (@iamMrSmooth87) January 20, 2018

Seriously, this is really bothering me – how is this in line with ethics rules?? It’s the White House phone line being used for political purposes. That seems like it *should* be a violation even if it turns out it isn’t. https://t.co/iHUM7iQIeu

— Erin Altman (@AltmanErin) January 20, 2018

How can this possibly be legal? They’re using the White House phone lines to deliver a message against their political adversaries. https://t.co/dPUxo4bdmE

— Elizabeth West (@Limeylizzie) January 20, 2018

Petty partisan politics on an official government phone line? Fabulous, not one trace of decorum or dignity in this White House … not one. IT’S NOT YOUR PHONE LINE, IT BELONGS TO EVERYONE! @GOP

— StopIt (@ShariKPalmer) January 20, 2018

To hear a demonstration of immaturity, call 202-456-1111. It’s The White House. We have reached a new pinnacle in absurdity.

It has been busy every time I tried, but I was told it basically says “we can’t answer the phone because the Democrats shut the Government down.”

— LillcyTweets (@LillcyTweets) January 20, 2018

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