The couple that gate crashed President Barack Obama's first state dinner last week, appeared on NBC's "Today" show Tuesday and insisted "we are not party crashers."
But even as they did so, evidence and anger against them mounted. The Congressional Black Caucus said that the couple gate crashed one of its events recently and had to be escorted out. And a relative described them as obsessed with the media and willing to do almost anything to get noticed. UPDATE: See the comment below from someone who says the couple sat at his table at the Black Caucus dinner and saw them being asked to leave. On "Today," The couple denied they crashed that dinner or were asked to leave.
"This is the most devastating thing that has ever happened to me and my wife," Tareq Salahi told Matt Lauer in the first part of an interview Tuesday. "We have been portrayed as party crashers and we are not party crashers."
Michaele Salahi is a candidate for a a reality TV series, "Housewives of Washington," and the couple's behavior at the White House has sparked outrage not just toward them but toward reality TV shows in general insofar as they encourage outrageous behavior from such wannabes. It looks like this duo could be the unlucky pair that bears the brunt of a growing revulsion toward desperate characters like the parents of the so-called "Balloon Boy" or Jon & Kate Gosselin, who have let cameras steal their children's privacy. That could make for a most welcome and long overdue cultural tipping point.
"We are cooperating... and have great respect for the Secret Service and President Obama," Tareq Salahi told Matt Lauer Tuesday.
While the couple is now trying to portray themselves as believing they had an invitation to the event, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told "Today" show co-host Meredith Vieira there is no chance their gatecrashing was a misunderstanding.
Gibbs was even more forceful on "Fox & Friends," on the Fox News Channel, Tuesday, saying: "If your name isn't on the list, which their's wasn't, if you didn't get an invite, which they didn't, you shouldn't be here at an event …Those individuals should not have gotten on the complex.... This is the sort of thing, quite frankly, that just shouldn't take place here."
Later on the NBC "Today" show broadcast, Tareq Salahi's brother, Ismail, a medical doctor who was described as "estranged" from his sibling, described the couple as being obsessed with "the media."
He said "anybody who did a little digging" into the couple's life would "find a lot of stuff." He described that "stuff" as not being what he "would consider ethical or moral."
The producers of "Today" clearly understood that they were dealing with a couple of shady characters and that some of the mud could rub off on the show itself if the interview wasn't handled with care.
"Are you appearing her freely?" Lauer asked before starting into serious questions. "Are we paying you in any way?"
He waited until they both answered clearly.
"No," Tareq said.
"At no time have we ever talked about doing that anyone," Michaele seconded.
And then, the couple became truly over-the-top pathetic, with Tareq saying, he is "saddened" by the way the media is reporting their story. Sounding like Kate Gosselin, of the late reality TV series, "Jon & Kate Plus 8," he complained that they have been "mischaracterized through the media and other paparazzi forums."
Unbelievable. This couple commits outrageous acts to attract attention, and then complains about the "paparazzi invading" their home.
"Our lives have been destroyed," Michaele said. "Everything we've worked for has been destroyed. for me, Matt, that's 44 years, just destroyed."
Wouldn't it be nice if these two fools defined the limit in what the public is willing to stomach from this class of desperate reality TV show wannabes? Tying up law enforcement folks in Denver with a hoax that your kid is in a balloon is bad enough. But maybe the fact that this desperate Salahi couple clearly sees the Black Congressional Caucus and the White House as nothing but backdrops for their self-absorbed and delusional schemes might just get folks to step back and take a hard look at how reality TV is warping the culture. Let's hope so.
I hope so.
Here's a sampling of the contempt readers of this blog are voicing for the Salahis:
And this from Val: