Gate-crashing Salahis find reality TV not all its cracked up to be
Tareq and Michaele Saheli, the White House gate-crashers, wanted a reality TV show. Now, they find their lives under intense media scrutiny.
Washington — Tareq and Michaele Salahi – who got into last week’s White House state dinner without an invitation – are learning the hard truth that you can become a star of reality TV without giving your consent.
The show they aspired to be on is Bravo’s “Real Housewives of D.C.” The show they’re featured on instead appears on many networks, and in print as well, and might be called “The Media Shines the Light of a Thousand Suns on a Hapless Couple’s Life”.
Some may say this is only fair, as the Redskins themselves are so bad this year that they are an impostor of a football team. But the Redskinettes take their heritage seriously. As one actual cheerleader told the Post, “It’s really a privilege to wear the burgundy and gold. So I’m resentful....”
Ms. Salahi had managed to crash her way onto the Redskin cheerleaders’ alumni squad, insisting that she had served on the first cheerleader team back in 1991. But there is no record of that, and none of the other cheerleaders remember her.
Meanwhile, the state of Virginia has begun investigating the Salahis’ alleged charitable ventures.
The state’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services issued a terse two-sentence statement saying that it has begun probing the fund-raising practices of America’s Polo Cup, a Salahi-owned entity.
America’s Polo Cup has held a series of spring galas in recent years, telling sponsors that all proceeds are donated to a federally-approved nonprofit foundation.
The Washington Post has reported that at least three vendors who have served at the annual Polo Cup event say they have yet to be paid.
On Capitol Hill, lawmakers have already launched investigations of their own into the crashing of the state dinner last week, which led to the Salahis’ sudden celebrity.
The Salahis declined to appear at a House Committee on Homeland Security hearing on the issue Thursday. The committee’s chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D) of Mississippi, said he was likely to authorize a subpoena for the couple to testify at a later date.
The White House also declined to allow social secretary Desiree Rogers to appear at Thursday’s hearing. Representative Thompson accused the White House of “stonewalling” by not letting Ms. Rogers describe the procedures that were, or were not, in place the night of the state dinner for Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Mark Sullivan, the head of the Secret Service, did appear at the hearing. He said that the security breach that allowed the Salahis into the dinner was an aberration and that President Obama was never at risk.
“This is our fault and our fault alone,” said Mr. Sullivan.
Three uniformed Secret Service officers have been placed on administrative leave due to the incident, said Mr. Sullivan. They face a range of possible penalties, including losing their jobs.
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