The Salahis aren't done basking in their 15 minutes of fame: The social-climbing couple and aspiring reality TV stars crashed the White House State Dinner last week, stunning the media, embarrassing the Secret Service and moving Congress to hold a hearing on the matter. So of course, the next logical step for them to take would be to make an appearance on NBC's "Today" show with Matt Lauer, which they did on Tuesday morning. Lauer was quick to offer the Salahis a chance to explain themselves: "At the center of everything is a simple question: Were you or were you not invited to attend that state dinner, how do you answer that?" To which Michaele Salahi replied:
Well, we were invited, not crashers, and there isn't anyone that would have the audacity or the poor behavior to do that. The White House is the most-- it is the house, and no one would do that. And certainly not us.
When Lauer pressed the couple to name the person who had invited them, they said that the internal investigation by the Secret Service precluded them from going into explicit detail about their version of the incident, but already reports have surfaced of an email exchange between the Salahis and Michele S. Jones, special assistant to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Facebook friend of the Salahi's attorney. Jones has admitted that an e-mail exchange took place but denies inviting the Salahis or promising them access. Her statement as quoted by the Washington Post:
I did not state at any time, or imply that I had tickets for ANY portion of the evening's events...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. Even though I informed them of this, they still decided to come.
As usual, Twitter users were ready at a hair-trigger, armed with acerbic wit:
- James Poniewozik: "Salahis appear on Today show, deny WH crashing and reveal... that they'll reveal something, someday."
- Mo Rocca: "Obama to send 30,002 troops to Afghanistan (congrats, Tareq and Michaele Salahi! This time you're invited.)"
- Rick Wilson: "The Salahis have vowed never to rest until they find and bring to justice the real party crashers."
- Anthony DeVito: "BREAKING NEWS: Michaele Salahi has a giant wind-up key in the center of her back. More on this story as it develops."
- Nicole Scorpio: "The Salahi's whining on the Today show. Dudes you crashed the wrong party, suck up and deal."
- Barbara Barna Abel: "How does Michaele Salahi have almost 12,000 Facebook fans??? http://www.facebook.com/pag…"
- Joseph J. Santorsa: "If the Salahi's had stayed home & Tiger Wood's lost his car keys, there would have been no news to report the last 72hrs. #p2 #hcr"
- Joseph J. Santorsa: Matt Lauer had the Salahi's on the "Today" show. Palin now accused him of paling around with terrorists. #p2 #hcr
- D.D. West: "With BALLOON BOY and his family of course RT @Marnus3: What a story it would have been if Tiger Woods had the Salahi's in the back seat.