Call from Trump campaign to Burlington home raises questions

Published 9:48 am Wednesday, March 16, 2016

BURLINGTON — With election season under way, many residents are regularly getting robocalls touting candidates, and a Burlington resident finds one she received on the morning of Tuesday’s primary suspicious.

Marlene Rector said she received a call at 9:53 a.m., in which she said a recorded voice, claiming to be the “mayor of South Point,” said he was “a lifelong Democrat,” but was urging voters to support Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, stating “he is the only one who can get the job done.”

Rector felt the call wasn’t on the level, as her residence is not in South Point’s limits.

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She called the number back and the phone was answered with the recorded message “Thank you for calling Trump campaign headquarters.”

South Point Mayor Jeff Gaskin was surprised to hear Rector’s story of the call, and said he had not recorded any robocall messages. He also said the premise of the alleged message was flawed.

“I’m not a ‘lifelong Democrat,’” he said. “I’m a Republican, but I’m not a rabid Republican. I would never call anyone like that.”

An examination of Rector’s caller ID showed that she received the call at 9:53 a.m. from 646-736-1779, an area code and exchange for Manhattan.

Rector said she had never called the number before she dialed it on Tuesday, was not a supporter of the real estate tycoon and reality TV star and that there was no reason she would have been received a return call.

The number is listed on Trump’s campaign website and in press releases issued by the campaign.

Rector was not able to make a recording of the call.

When called, after a greeting from the Trump campaign, callers are asked to press numbers to get information on volunteering for the campaign. There are options for media inquiries and general information, but repeated attempts by the Tribune to reach either resulted in the phone ringing with no answer or voicemail option given, or a recording directing emails to a campaign representative who did not reply.