The White House party crashers, Michaele and Tareq Salahi, were stopped in a limo near the White House Wednesday evening as President Barack Obama was holding his second official state dinner.
The limo driver ran through a red light around 8 p.m., just blocks from the White House and was stopped by a uniformed Secret Service officer, according to Secret Service spokesman Edwin Donovan. The driver had signaled to turn into a restricted area near the Ellipse. The attention-hungry couple was among those in the limo. They were released and went to dinner a few blocks from the White House after the incident. The limo driver was issued an infraction for running the red light.
The Salahis have been under investigation for attending Obama’s first state dinner for India’s prime minister last November even though they were not on a guest list. It was a huge embarrassment for the White House that the couple got into the dinner uninvited and got close enough to the country’s highest officials to shake hands with Obama in the receiving line and take photos with Vice President Joe Biden, which the couple posted on Facebook.
Since November, the White House and Secret Service have refined their security policy for checking guests into such events; the White House social secretary, Desiree Rogers, resigned; officials discovered a third person attended the dinner without being invited; and, according to news reports, the Salahis landed a part on Bravo’s reality show, “The Real Housewives of DC.”
Wednesday evening, the Salahis popped up at a restaurant a few blocks from the White House with a group of friends, photographers and cameramen.
“They had a great time with their friends,” said Athina Balda, marketing manager for Kellari Taverna. “There were a lot of cameras and photographers.”
Balda said the group of 10-12 people was there from about 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., and that there was a lot of filming going on. The group dined on crab cakes, grilled fish and other dishes.
Balda said she wasn’t aware of any conversation related to the state dinner or the White House.