Donald Trump’s call into a Christian nationalist group’s prayer session was derailed Monday night, leaving the former president frustrated after the interview was flooded with “trolls,” the group’s leader claimed.
The snafu comes as a possible Trump indictment looms and the former president turns to the MAGA-faithful for support while demanding they “protest” nationwide.
A few minutes after joining the Pastors for Trump’s “prayer call”—which also featured longtime Trump ally Roger Stone— the former president’s connection was cut.
“Okay, I guess we have some phone miscommunication,” Trump said after his audio reconnected at one point. “The radical left was working on the phone. There is no question about it.” “Hello?” Trump added.
Increasingly frustrated, Trump said he couldn’t hear anyone on the other side of the line and moved to end the call.
“Uhhh,” the former president is heard, sighing before being disconnected from the call. The Daily Beast obtained audio from the original call, which was later edited out when posted to YouTube by the group.
Subsequently, far-right website The Gateway Pundit claimed in a follow-up article that a sinister—and unidentifiable—force was to blame.
“We don’t know at this time what happened with the call with President Trump and why the administrators were kicked off their normally very reliable Internet,” editor Joe Hoft, who was also on the call, wrote. “It could have been call volume, or it could have been outside sabotage or something else.”
In a phone interview with The Daily Beast on Monday night, Pastors for Trump founder Jackson Lahmeyer said that “trolls” might have been behind the snafu—who flooded into the backstage virtual call room.
“Our backstage got flooded with people and trolls, just commenting all types of stuff,” he said. Lahmeyer additionally said it could have been a “hack,” or their phone system’s backend being overloaded with viewers.
“Everything froze on our end,” he continued. “I think the system got overloaded with the number of viewers,” while tossing cold water on an internet conspiracy theory pushed by The Gateway Pundit.
Despite little evidence that it was the handiwork of “hackers” or liberal activists, Trump couldn’t resist floating the idea after being reconnected to organizers on a later phone call.
“I hope you can hear me clearly now because we did try this twice, and I am only kiddingly convinced that the radical left did it,” he said. “I think probably it was the radical left that did something with them,” Trump added, referring to the phone lines.
“We did the best we could,” Lahmeyer concluded. “Those things happen in life.”
Reached for comment by The Daily Beast late Monday evening, Trump spokesperson Steven Cheung fumed over the unidentified “trolls” he called “losers.”
“Millions of Americans are praying for President Trump because he is the only one standing in the way of radical, liberal prosecutors abusing their power from targeting citizens they disagree with,” he said. “If these losers can try to do this to President Trump, they will certainly try to do it against other conservatives and Republicans.”
The Daily Beast