In the wake of Donald Trump's decision to give the entire world Sen. Lindsey Graham's cell phone number, Gawker decided that turnabout was fair play. On Monday, the site published what it says is Trump's number, starting with the 917 area code common to many New York City area cell phones.
Which prompted a lot of questions online, most notably this one: Trump, the consummate New Yorker (at least in his own mind), doesn't have a 212 number for his phone?
Earlier this year, I wrote about the online phone number marketplace. Custom digits in particular area codes can run someone thousands of dollars, with New York's 212 being one of the most in-demand area codes. (The most popular is probably Los Angeles' 310.) Particular number combinations (all zeroes, for example) and words (HURT or PAIN, for trial lawyers) are also pricey.
But you can get a 212 number if you want. So why didn't Trump?
"The first cell phone numbers were all 917, going back to the early '90s," said David Day, proprietor of 212AreaCode.com, when I reached him by phone. "Even today, anyone that sees a 917 number automatically associates it with a cell phone." People getting a call from a 212 might assume it's from a business or an office. Getting a call from 917 gives them a heads up that it's a cell.
What's more, Trump's had a mobile phone in his car since at least the 1970s, according to old New York Times profiles of him. (Editor's note: It likely looked like this.) So he's probably had the number for decades, and has seen no reason to change. It's an "easy number," in Day's parlance, since it ends in a multiple of one thousand. (Feel free to head over to Gawker to see what Trump's full number is.)
Could Trump get a 212 number? Sure. He could have (212) ##T-RUMP -- that is, (212) something-something-87867 -- if he wanted to. David Day will sell him one for only $1,000. Day doesn't have that in stock, but he regularly seeks out custom numbers like that for clients. "We go out to different phone companies or whatever contacts we have and see where we can get that number from," Day explained.
I asked Day if Donald himself called up and asked for the 212 number, if he'd still be paying a grand like anyone else. And yes, Day confirmed, he would.
Just in case you're suddenly in the market for a new phone number, Mr. Trump.