'We are ruled by fools': - White House spent 22 minutes trying to mute conference call with reporters
The White House spent nearly half an hour struggling to enable the "listening only" feature on a conference call with reporters on Thursday, 11 January. Senior White House officials were supposed to announce US President Donald Trump's decision to continue waiving nuclear programme-related sanctions on Iran during the call, CBS reported.
However, both sides of the conference call remained unmuted.
"This White House can't even run a f**king conference call," one reporter on the unmuted line said to the entire conference call. "They don't know how to mute their line."
An unnamed White House official shot back, "It's the illegitimate media that doesn't know how to conduct themselves. They can't mute their f**king phones. Mute your phones."
Meanwhile, another White House official tried to restore order on the noisy call "so that the people in charge" could talk.
"I think if everyone had half a brain and common sense and muted their phones, this wouldn't be a problem," she reportedly yelled.
After the slated start of the call began, one reporter asked repeatedly, "Hello? Hello? Has the call started?" Another person sarcastically chimed, "This is Kim Jong Un calling for Donald Trump."
The call eventually began a little after 1:00PM, according to CBS. Officials later announced that they would not be taking questions from reporters citing the earlier technical difficulties.
This is not the first time Trump's White House has faced difficulties with conference calls.
During a conference call with the press in July 2017 on Iran, one unmuted participant on the call said his "inflatable doll is a lesbian". BBC News reporter Tara McKelvey tweeted that she thought it came from an ad. A senior administration official decided to cut the call short shortly after saying, "Just pull the cord."
Meanwhile, many on Twitter couldn't help but snicker at the White House's latest technical difficulties involving a conference call.
"A major decision on #Iran by White House today was completely overtaken by Trump's comments on Haiti and a botched conference call on subject. Welcome to foreign policy reporting in a Trump world," Joyce Karam, the Washington correspondent for Al-Hayat newspaper, tweeted.
"It took them six months to figure out how to turn on the lights," one person added. "Why is anyone surprised?"