The couple who got into last week's White House state dinner denied being party crashers and said they are "shocked" and "devastated" by the tag.
"I can tell you we did not party-crash the White House," Tareq Salahi said on Tuesday's Today show, where he appeared with wife Michaele.
The Salahis — who maintained they were not being paid for the interview contrary to previous reports — said they have e-mail proof that they were invited to the dinner. "I am certain we'll be completely exonerated," Tareq Salahi said.
Because of the continuing internal review by the Secret Service, the Salahis declined to offer more details, including who invited them, but said they are "working closely" with the Secret Service and have turned documentation over to the agency."We were invited. Not crashers. There isn't anyone that would have the audacity or the poor behavior to do that," Michaele Salahi said.However, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs and Michelle Jones, a senior Pentagon official, both issued statements to Today
saying that the Salahis were never invited to the party."I specifically stated that they did not have tickets and in fact that I did not have the authority to authorize attendance, admittance or access to any part of the evening's activities," Jones said. "Even though I informed them of this, they still decided to come."
"In our view, it's clear to us [that we were invited] and based on the timeline, I think the American public is going to be extremely surprised with all the details that went from beginning to end into what was supposed to be a beautiful evening," Tareq Salahi said.Tareq Salahi also denied a Fox report that said the couple — aspiring Real Housewives of D.C. cast members — crashed the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Awards dinner in September and were escorted out. He said he and his wife were invited by a large law firm. "We were a proud guest of theirs. Were we escorted out? Of course not," he said.According to the Fox report, Bravo requested access to film the Salahis at the awards dinner, but was denied. Bravo cameras were also turned away at the door, Fox said.TVGuide.com's calls to Bravo were not immediately returned. Watch the Salahis' interview below: