Michaele and Tareq Salahi are shaking their party crasher status and swear they were invited to the White House’s State Dinner.
Matt Lauer grilled the couple this morning on NBC’s “Today” when the two appeared on the morning news show to explain their side of the story. Tareq and Michaele said that they had spoken with senior Pentagon official Michelle Jones, claiming she had given them clearance via email to attend the dinner last Tuesday night.
Hours later their pictures were splashed across screens and print publications where they were being called White House Party Crashers. The couple, who runs a winery in Washington D.C., was horrified by what they feel is a misrepresentation of their presence.
“Unfortunately, we’ve been mischaracterized through the media and other paparazzi forums,” Tareq said. “It’s been devastating what’s been happening to Michaele and I.
“Our lives have been destroyed,” Michaele added. “We were invited, not crashers. There isn’t anyone that would have the audacity or the poor behavior to do that.”
To rectify the situation and their own reputations, the couple have been working with the Secret Service, which is trying to figure out where there was a break down in communication and security.
“We’ve been very candid with them; we’ve turned over documentation to them, and we’ll continue to work with the U.S. Secret Service completely all the way through this process,” Tareq said of the investigation.
One form of documentation the embattled couple continues to point to as evidence they were, in fact, invited is an email from Michelle. However, the Pentagon official offered a different perspective on the correspondence.
“I did not state at any time or imply that I had tickets for any portion of the evening’s events,” Michelle said in a statement which Matt read on air. “I specifically stated that they did not have tickets. In fact that I did not have the authority to authorize attendance, admittance or access to any part of the evening’s activities. Even though I informed them of this, they still decided to come.”
Find out what the Salahis had to say about her statement when you watch their full “Today” interview below.
– Sonya Eskridge