The White House switchboard is a near-sacred part of the U.S. government ― so when reports surfaced Monday that the live operators who answer the main phone number at the White House were gone, it raised some dismay.
Calls to the switchboard Monday morning were answered by a recorded voice that directed callers to various White House functions, like visitor tours and the White House website. At the end of the message, the recorded voice instructs people calling from a rotary dial phone to stay on the line, in order to speak to an operator.
The Huffington Post stayed on the line, and within a few minutes we were transferred to a real live operator.
So the White House switchboard is working. But it’s safe to assume that the volume of calls on President Donald Trump’s first full workday in office was high enough to strain the switchboard’s resources. (A White House phone line for leaving audio comments was closed Monday; this is a different number than the White House switchboard.)
For those planning to call the White House main number in the near future, just stay on the line. Operators are still standing by.
This story has been updated to include information about the White House comment line.