Appearing on a nationally broadcast morning news show with his wife, Michaele, Tareq Salahi said the furor surrounding their attendance at the state dinner for the visiting Indian prime minister has been a "most devastating" experience.
Salahi said in the interview Tuesday on NBC's "Today" show that there was more to the story — an explanation that would exonerate the couple from allegations of misconduct in the breach of White House security. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, appearing on the same program, stood by the administration's position that the Salahis were gatecrashers.
"This wasn't a misunderstanding," Gibbs said. "You don't show up at the White House as a misunderstanding ," The Associated Press reports.
Meanwhile, the most infamous party crashers in the world said Tuesday that they hate that label, denied they finagled their way into a White House state dinner and insisted that they were invited to the bash by a Washington law firm with ties to a senior Pentagon official.
"This has been the most devastating thing that’s ever happened to us," Tareq Salahi, along with his wife Michaele, told Matt Lauer in the couple’s first television interview. "We're greatly saddened by all the circumstances that have been involved in portraying my wife and I as party crashers. I can tell you we did not party crash the White House," msnbc.com reports.
It was also reported, Salahi said he and his wife "are cooperating extensively with the U.S. Secret Service" in their investigation of the incident and said "the truth will soon come out."
Yet White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Tuesday the Salahis were not on an invitation list of guests.
"If your name is not on an invitation list and you show up, in my book, that's called crashing," he said on CNN's "American Morning."
The couple met President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and other top White House officials during the dinner.
Secret Service security officials at a perimeter checkpoint failed to "get on the phone" to ask about the couple, Gibbs said Monday.
Gibbs blamed the problem on a lack of communication between the initial screening point and White House organizers.
Gibbs said it would be up to the Secret Service and the U.S. attorney to decide if the Salahis should face criminal charges, CNN reports.
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